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about 1 month ago by Debbie Lloyd

​The importance of diversity in the recruitment process

Canva   Man Being Interviewed By A Woman

Equality and diversity in the workplace mean a lot of things. They're about respecting your staff for their individual age, gender, race, cultural background, career experience, skills, beliefs (religious and philosophical), sexual orientation, and more.

Companies who have greater workplace diversity outperform their competitors and achieve higher profits! A variety of perspectives can lead to an increase in creativity, faster problem solving and better decision making.

What you could be discriminating on

Our brains use visual, verbal and behavioural clues to categorise others, for instance by age, gender, ethnicity, or social background, sexual orientation or education. These clues can be useful as we make our way through life. They help us to determine whether someone might be friendly or hostile. We do this through a process of rapid categorisation that is both natural and necessary. This process of rapid categorisation as suggested by the psychologist Joseph LeDoux acts as an unconscious danger detector, which helps us to determine whether someone or something is safe.

From a basic human survival standpoint, developed through evolution, our unconscious judgements or biases are necessary and essential. The process of placing people into categories and pre-judging helps us to make rapid decisions that could literally be life-saving.

In the hiring process, unconscious bias happens when you form an opinion about candidates based solely on first impressions. Or, when you prefer one candidate over another simply because the first one seems like someone you identify with.

Tips for building diversity into your recruitment process

Even very early on in the recruitment process, a candidate’s CV picture, their name, or where they are from could influence your opinion more than you think. In short, unconscious bias influences your decision – whether positively or negatively – using criteria irrelevant to the job.

So how can we eliminate this for the recruitment process?

Acknowledge Your Bias

Be aware of our biases so that you are making decisions more consciously and look at every part of the recruitment process starting right at the beginning.

Use Inclusive language in job adverts

According to an article by Total Jobs - the use of some words to describe certain roles is often innate, which is the danger of stereotypes. For example, there are certain words which socially, culturally and historically carry a stereotypical weight towards a particular gender and although employers and recruiters are not explicitly targeting male applicants, they are unintentionally positioning their advert in a way to appeal to a specific gender.

It’s not just gender bias that you should be aware of when writing adverts, phrases such as fast-paced, digital native – meaning you have grown up around technology - or recent graduate could put off older candidates or worse be seen as discrimination.

Remove personal details from CVs

It's a good exercise to ask a member of the team to remove, names, date of birth and addresses from CVs, so you can be sure you are judging each candidate based on their ability to do the job and nothing else.

Ask for work samples

Base your decision on concrete evidence rather than feelings by requesting a sample of their work or setting a task to completed. This can be a useful way to compare applicants and it’s an effective predictor of future job performance.