Growing your team is a super exciting time. Welcoming someone with new thoughts, ideas, perspectives, and skills that will bring a whole new dynamic to your team.
But there could be a few things preventing you from widening your search to include diverse groups of people and pools of talent. Inclusive hiring practices allow you level the playing field for all applicants, helping you to find the next trailblazing member of your team.
In this guide, we highlight seven simple and inexpensive ways to make your hiring process more inclusive.
A quick pointer before we get started. Here at Loopin, we’re proud to have switched up our own hiring process. Taking all of these tips on board, we’ll continue to learn, grow, and adapt our practices throughout the business to be more inclusive. The way that we’ll continue to do this? By handing the microphone over to the people whose voices need to be heard.
Here’s a few things we’ve learnt from truly listening to those people.
1. Is the language in your job advert simple and easy to understand?
Aside from colloquial and cliché terms being a big turn-off for potential applicants, they also make very little sense. Along with industry jargon and keywords stuffed in for search engines rather than the actual people applying, it can be exhausting trying to figure out exactly what’s required.
Avoid words like flexible or self-starter, and instead say you’re looking for someone who “can show initiative” and can “help make the team more efficient”?
Keep it simple and easy to understand.
An important note: Never use language that suggests only certain ages, sexes, races, or abilities can apply to the role. We’ve included the law around this at the end of the guide.
2. Is that skill really essential? Does this candidate actually need a degree?
Of course, in some instances, there may be specific training or requirements for a candidate to fill a role. But in cases where this sort of accolade isn’t essential, leave it off. The trouble with putting these sorts of requirements into the job post is that you could miss out on a huge pool of talent who have taken a different path in life, and acquired their skills and knowledge through other means.
They might not have A-Levels or a degree. Maybe they dropped out of school early or they haven’t been in a job for longer than 12 months.
Instead, they may have taken a year out to travel and learn new languages - a great bonus for a customer service department that requires candidates to be multilingual. Perhaps they developed a passion for marketing through their own social media presence or grew a loyal following for a podcast they host. Perhaps they didn’t learn coding through traditional courses, but instead took initiative to develop incredible coding skills online.
Think about the requirements you’re asking for. If it’s not really essential, leave it out.
3. Describe where the candidate will be working and what the culture is like.
In our recent job advert, we listed every. single. perk.
We’re really proud to offer such a great place to work, but this made the job advert suuuuuper long and wordy. Next time, we’ll just select a few that really highlight how we care for our people’s health and wellbeing, and what makes us stand out from other roles they may be looking at.
It’s also super helpful to explain to candidates what the office space and culture are like. Include your company mission, vision, and values and exactly why these are important to you. Exactly how many days are employees expected to be in the office? Is this at all negotiable? How do you care for employees' health and wellbeing?
Final thoughts on this point for a team who work in central Bristol where driving can be a total minefield… This new job might be in an unfamiliar location, so it’s important not only to highlight where your office is based, but the travel links and parking information too.
4. Clearly define the steps to apply and the stages of the interview process
Have you clearly outlined exactly how candidates can apply? Whether that’s sending a CV via email or sending an introductory video to the company's LinkedIn page. Keep it simple so candidates don’t have to read between the lines. Outline exactly what is needed by the candidate and when exactly it is required.
One important thing to remember when hiring: we’re all individuals.
We each have different needs, abilities, and ways of communicating. So, what works for one candidate, may not work for another. If you need to change the process to accommodate somebody's needs, then go for it. These changes are all about broadening opportunities for individuals who may not otherwise get their voices heard. Try and broaden the way people can apply for the role. Keeping it simple doesn’t mean not thinking outside the box.
Lastly, this is a public announcement about those job applications that ask for a CV as well as requiring you to insert the information into individual fields on a 5-hour long application. Please. Stop.
5. Involve various members of your team in the process
Recently, singer and songwriter, Lizzo unknowingly used an ableist slur in her new single. After the disabled community highlighted this to the singer, she apologised publicly and re-released the single after removing the lyric. All hale Lizzo! 👑
We wonder though, if Lizzo had a disabled person on her team, could they have avoided the mistake altogether?
The same is true for your hiring process. Can you ask members of your team for their input when it comes to hiring to ensure job adverts are inclusive? The same goes for other processes and practices in your company. Sometimes the most powerful people in your team are the ones who aren’t comfortable speaking up, so be sure to involve everyone when possible. Not only is this a great way to make your hiring process inclusive, but current employees will appreciate seeing the way in which you are switching things up to be more inclusive too.
6. Give candidates foresight of the questions you’ll ask during the interview
Controversial? We don’t think so!
This can really help not only to ease anxiety and nerves at the interview stage but also highlights exactly which applicants have prepared their answers. Find out which candidate truly wants the job and has prepared the best possible answers, rather than which candidate can think and speak when put on the spot. Unless this is a skill that’s required as part of the role, providing candidates with a foresight of the questions being asked can really help to ease worries, particularly for people who’s anxiety is heightened during intense situations like interviews.
7. Be open-minded when it comes to switching things up
Test your process, evaluate what worked, and continue to diversify your hiring practices. We recently reviewed our own hiring process and these are the exact changes we’ll be taking forward.
Notice a common theme underpinning each of these initiatives? The willingness to have an open conversation and uncover blind spots. These alterations don’t need to involve expensive changes. They simply require more thought and care to open doors of opportunity for talented individuals who may otherwise have not applied.
Here at Loopin, we’re on a mission to create psychologically safe workplaces, bringing together team wellbeing and inclusivity, and providing leaders with insights to lead with care and emotional intelligence.
Loopin is completely free for 30 days for companies of any size, meaning you can try our range of features out before signing up to anything official.
Finally, we thought it was important to point out the law around The Equality Act 2010 here too.
The Equality Act 2010 prohibits you from saying, or even implying, that you will discriminate against anyone on the basis of any “protected characteristic”. This includes age, race, sex, disability, pregnancy and maternity, religion or belief.
The general principle is that work opportunities should be available to everyone. Employers can, however, require an applicant to possess a particular “protected characteristic” if it is really necessary for the particular job. However, it is essential that the employer can justify the reason for the requirement – they must be able to argue that there is a genuine need for this criteria and that it is proportionate.