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Inclusive recruitment: 12 tips

Updated: Oct 22, 2021

Illustration of faces from different ages and backgrounds.

A staffing policy that is both more inclusive and more diverse needs to start at the beginning, with recruitment. But what should an organization’s approach be? What steps do you need to take to arrive at a more diverse staffing policy and a more inclusive recruitment process? Take inspiration from these twelve practical tips.

1 Find out how much diversity already exists in your workforce

Think broadly, all the way from cultural or socio-economic background to educational level and gender expression. Research, including work by McKinsey & Co, shows that more diversity on the work floor leads to better problem-solving. Meetings between individuals with different backgrounds contribute to mutual understanding and break through compartmentalization.

2 Look specifically for different profiles

Do most of your employees have a similar view of the world and a comparable range of experience? If so, try to find out to what extent your recruitment procedure focuses on applicants who share that same profile. Then you can look specifically for different profiles and work towards creating a team with a more diverse composition.

3 Make clear what qualities and responsibilities you are after

Potential candidates must feel immediately that your advert is addressed to them, rather than having to guess whether or not they are suitable for the job.

4 Don’t set the bar unnecessarily high

Think carefully about the capacities you need a future employee to have. Don’t make demands that in retrospect will seem superfluous. For example, don’t specify that a candidate must have a certain diploma if you could find someone with the necessary qualities by a different route.

5 Be open to change

Take a critical look at your expectations and the accessibility of your job advert, and venture to invest in candidates who will bring other talents with them.

6 Put together a diverse jury

Give some thought to the composition of the team that conducts your job interviews. Take a critical look at your usual procedures and habits. If it proves difficult to do this yourself, you can always call in the help of specialized HR organizations or experts who focus on an inclusive recruitment strategy.

7 Be aware of prejudices in your team

Preconceived notions are often passed on unconsciously. Unconscious bias training is one of the tools that can make your recruiters or members of the human resources team in your organization more aware of their prejudices.

8 Think outside the box

Ask candidates whether they need logistical or other adaptations to enable them to take part in interviews. For example, offer candidates the option of applying in various different ways, perhaps by using video or audio files instead of the classic ‘CV plus motivation letter’.

9 Make allowance for candidates with disabilities

Dealing with your first ever application from a candidate with a disability? The Disability-Confident Toolkit offers a wide range of tips for making interviews more accessible.

10 Use the right channels

Various groups of people can be reached most effectively through their own networks. Hunt out channels that will enable you to reach a more diverse range of candidates. You might for example try platforms catering to those with a sensory disability or autism.

11 Make your new colleague familiar with your organization

Is the recruitment round complete and have you found a new member of the team? Congratulations! But that’s just the start. Ensure a warm welcome for your new colleague and familiarize them with your organization’s personnel policy. Inspiration can be found for example in the Aga Khan Foundation, which offers a digital crash course in making new staff familiar with an organization’s safeguarding policies.

12 Make your workplace a safe space

Include respect for one another and for each staff member’s unique identity as part of your organization’s rules and regulations, and appoint a confidential advisor, preferably an external one. That way you will turn your workplace into a safe space where all employees can be completely themselves. Want to start straight away and need inspiration? Take a look at how British company Three addresses the issue.

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