Fostering diversity and inclusion at the recruitment stage has a beneficial impact, not least in terms of increased applications and a greater likelihood of attracting the right talent to your organisation. Here are our top tips for getting it right.
Consider alternative talent pools
It is well publicised that vacancies are at record highs, with currently more vacancies than people in work. This is partly due to a loss of people from the labour market due to Brexit and the COVID-19 pandemic which resulted in a lot of older workers take early retirement. As a result, employers need to think more carefully about where they look for talent and tap into wider and more diverse talent pools.
Word your job adverts to attract the best candidates
It is a well recited fact that women are unlikely to apply for a position unless they meet 100 percent of the job requirements, whereas men will apply if they meet 60percent of the requirements.
As such, it is worth considering key terms and buzz words to be used when preparing and updating job adverts and person specifications to encourage applications across the board. Employers should focus on the required skills for the role, rather than a particular amount of experience or years spent in a previous position as a pre-requisite which may put off some candidates.
Terms such as ‘highly experienced’ or ‘recent graduate’ could suggest that an employer is looking for candidates in specific age brackets, which in turn leads to suggestions of ageism in the workplace. It could also mean that an employer misses out on fantastic candidates who may otherwise have the necessary skills for the role but have avoided applying due to a suggestion that they need a certain number of years’ experience or are too old for the role.
Be clear on the benefits and culture you can offer
It is unlikely to be a surprise that the current candidate driven market means that employers have to be open for candidates to negotiate the terms of their employment and that they are less likely to accept traditional fixed arrangements.
If applicable to the role, some of the key benefits that should be included on job adverts to attract candidates are the availability of flexible, hybrid and remote working, as well as any family-friendly benefits that the employer offers.
Candidates are becoming more aware of the need for a work-life balance and therefore employers should consider how their job adverts help highlight their own commitment to supporting their employees. This is also beneficial when those with dependents are looking for new roles as they will be keen to know that they will be supported with their home life and whether they will be afforded flexibility if needed.
Equally, older workers who had taken early retirement may be tempted back into the workplace with options such as phased retirements, enhanced pension benefits or grandparent leave.
Candidates also want to know how an employer will invest in their training and development, so providing information early on about opportunities within the organisation will help in attracting the best talent.
Be mindful of your selection process
Another key factor for employers to consider is unconscious bias and how this impacts on which applicants are selected for interview and subsequently offered employment.
Unconscious bias occurs when our brains automatically make a quick judgment about a person or a situation. This can impair an employer’s recruitment strategy and can lead to losing out on talent in a challenging market.
Training hiring managers is an efficient way to start tackling these issues but employers should always consider that unconscious bias is human nature and cannot always be removed with extra training.
As such, as a way to overcome these issues, some employers have chosen to use anonymous CVs in which a candidate’s personal information (name, address, education establishments) is redacted. This can reduce unconscious bias as the managers will be focusing on an employee’s experience and qualifications only.
Alternatively, some employers have adopted specific technology which checks the candidate’s answers to specific questions to see if their answers are similar to a desired answer or has traces of key buzz words. Whilst removing the human element which could lead to unconscious bias, this practise can also allow the employer to collate tangible data about candidates’ skills and experiences which can enable the employer to get a better understanding of their fit for the role.
Having a diverse and inclusive workforce is no longer something that is nice to have but rather it is essential to ensuring candidate engagement from the outset. As such, employers are encouraged to consider how their current recruitment strategy could be improved to ensure that they are not missing out on potential talent in the market.
However, attracting a diverse workforce doesn’t necessarily ensure that every employee will have the same experience or opportunities in the workplace and is therefore not enough on its own. Employers should consider how inclusivity plays a specific role in retention of current employees and building a strong culture. Employees want to feel that they fit in well with their team and this leads to better collaboration and innovation. Our next article in this series will examine this further.