Traditionally, companies’ hiring practices have been anything but equitable and inclusive. They use language that targets male over female candidates (whether intentionally or not), they discriminate against older employees, and they tend to reject candidates with “Black-sounding” names far more than candidates with “white-sounding” names. All this is problematic, hurtful, and, of course, discriminatory. When bias is baked into a company’s hiring practices, that tends to shut the door on many qualified candidates before they even have a chance to interview.
Fortunately, it is possible to reform a company’s hiring practices through intentional action and strategy. Here are 6 ways to make that happen...
1. Identify the Root Cause of the Problem
Before taking any action, it is important to identify what is causing the lack of diversity, equity, and inclusion in your company’s hiring practices. This could include unconscious bias, a lack of awareness about diversity, equity, and inclusion issues, or an insufficient number of diverse candidates in the applicant pool. Conducting a thorough assessment of your hiring practices can help identify these issues and find ways to address them.
2. Review Your Job Postings
Your job postings are the first point of contact with potential candidates, so it is important to ensure they are inclusive and welcoming to all. Avoid using gendered language, focus on the job requirements instead of the candidate’s background, and use neutral language that does not exclude anyone. Consider using technology such as Textio or Gender Decoder to help identify any problematic language in your job postings.
3. Expand Your Recruiting Efforts
To increase diversity in your candidate pool, it is important to expand your recruiting efforts beyond your usual channels. This could include attending job fairs that cater to diverse candidates, partnering with organizations that promote diversity, equity, and inclusion, or creating internships and mentorship programs.
4. Train Your Recruiter and Hiring Managers
Your recruiters and hiring managers play a critical role in ensuring diversity, equity, and inclusion in the hiring process. Provide them with the necessary training and resources to help them identify their biases, become more aware of diversity, equity, and inclusion issues, and learn how to vet each candidate in a transparent and equitable way.
5. Gather Feedback and Perspectives
When your company is endeavoring to make the hiring process more inclusive and equitable, they don’t have to do it alone. It’s better, in fact, to run any changes past a hiring committee (comprised of individuals of different backgrounds) to gain feedback on potential changes. That way, everyone can provide their perspectives and ideas, and the company can make sure their new hiring initiatives are truly inclusive and not unintentionally harmful.
6. Measure and Evaluate Your Progress
To ensure your efforts are effective, it is important to measure and evaluate your progress. This could include tracking the diversity of your candidate pool and hires, surveying employees about their experiences, and regularly reviewing and refining your diversity, equity, and inclusion practices. Without data, it’s difficult to know if your initiatives are actually making an impact.
Creating hiring practices that emphasize diversity, equity, and inclusion is a critical step towards building a more equitable workplace. By taking intentional action and implementing meaningful strategies, your company can create a more diverse and inclusive workforce that welcomes and benefits everyone.