inclusive hiring increases diversity and ensures a better candidate experience
Inclusive hiring allows companies to grow their diverse workforce while ensuring stellar candidate experiences. 

It’s no secret that hiring in America is a “broken” system. From persistent and widespread diversity issues, to a damaging lack of efficiency, to hidden associated costs, to increasingly negative candidate experiences...it's more clear than ever that the way we find and hire talent could use an overhaul.

Here’s where inclusive hiring comes into play — as a solution to the brokenness of the hiring process. With an emphasis on sourcing more diverse candidates and assessing them holistically, inclusive hiring (or “hiring for diversity”) helps to combat biases, ensure a great candidate experience and find the best fit candidate for any position — faster.

What is inclusive hiring?

According to harver.com, inclusive hiring is the process of connecting with, interviewing and hiring a diverse set of individuals through understanding and valuing different backgrounds and opinions. For us, it’s also a crucial component in ensuring a better candidate experience. In fact, we feel that the best way to measure how inclusive your hiring process is is by asking if candidates feel included, respected, supported and assessed based on their skills alone.

An inclusive hiring process actively combats hiring bias. It’s also important to note that inclusive recruiting should be intersectional and consider more than just gender or race. Some other aspects of a diverse candidate pool that should be considered when hiring for diversity include:

  • Cognitive differences
  • Ability
  • Educational background
  • Socioeconomic status
  • Cultural diversity

For more information about accounting for the various levels of diversity in hiring, check out our blog.

Why is inclusive hiring important?

That’s easy — inclusive hiring is a vehicle to increasing workplace diversity.

Still not sold? Anecdotal and research-based evidence shows that workplaces that bring together employees with experiences unique to each different type of diversity are more likely to see growth in profits. Plus, diverse companies are also able to attract top talent, bring better ideas to the table and increase overall company productivity.

Aside from being the right thing to do, hiring inclusively ensures a better candidate experience — which in turn can help boost the reputation of an organization. If candidates (even those who were rejected) walk away from your hiring process feeling good about your organization, they could even end up being ambassadors for your hiring efforts as they spread the good word to their colleagues and network.

The ultimate goal: Bringing inclusivity to each part of the hiring process

In order to begin fixing an overall broken hiring process, hiring managers and HR teams should first look to each individual part of the hiring process. Contrary to popular beliefs about diversity being a sourcing issue or due to the infamous pipeline problem, promoting a diverse community of employees requires careful consideration of the entire hiring process — from job post creation to onboarding.

A hiring process is just that: a process. Other industries have seen an increase in inclusivity and accessibility of processes (think: UI/UX design, product development, product testing), so why should talent acquisition be any different? Consider the societal implications of a soap dispenser created without diversity in mind and the outrage it caused. Shouldn’t we hold our hiring practices to the same design-for-diversity standard?

The bottom line is that companies need to tackle hiring with a holistic, process-focused mindset. Hiring committees, departments and managers alike should aim to incorporate inclusive hiring practices into each step of the hiring process. Prioritizing inclusivity before applicants become candidates and hirees will help companies build more diverse teams.

Write better job descriptions

Job descriptions can turn potential qualified applicants off to a job simply by the way they are worded. Gendered language, long lists of qualifications and corporate jargon all have the potential to hurt diverse hiring efforts.

To make job descriptions more inclusive, hiring managers and HR professionals need to think about the posting from a candidates’ perspective and be aware of how words and content impact the decision to apply. We recommend trying, at a minimum, to pare down on essential job qualifications versus the nice-to-have’s; remove language that is exclusive of different races, genders and cultures; and get rid of performance-based descriptions. Here are some other great tips for editing job descriptions to attract a more diverse applicant pool.

Source inclusively

While blaming an entirely broken hiring process solely on the pipeline problem is unproductive, that’s not to say that there isn’t any issue with the way companies source applicants. Because organizations tend to source non-inclusively, looking at sourcing is absolutely still a relevant and necessary way to hire for diversity.

Better sourcing can mean attracting a more diverse applicant pool. If LinkedIn or Indeed are the only mediums by which applicants can find out about the job, it’s time to rethink the marketing approach. Hiring bias can come into play when companies regularly look for candidates in the same places over and over again. While large job board postings certainly can attract hundreds of qualified applicants, they shouldn’t be the sum-total of a job’s advertising.

To reduce bias and attract as diverse an applicant pool as possible, recruiters should take advantage of multiple job boards. For example, they might continue to post to the big ones (LinkedIn, Indeed, Glassdoor), but also add postings to university job boards, skills-specific job boards and minority-specific job boards. Here is a great resource for large and skills-specific job boards, and here is a list of diversity-approved job boards.

Combat bias during screening and assessment

Everywhere you look in the hiring process, bias is at play. It happens in every company — whether you want to believe it or not. And experts say the diversity discrepancy numbers are vast: A study showed that ‘white sounding names’ receive 50% more callbacks than Hispanic or African American sounding names. And bias goes beyond just race: Men are twice as likely to be hired for math and science-heavy roles compared to women, according to a study conducted by the National Academy of Science. The ugly side-effect of all this bias is skewed team compositions: according to McKinsey, 97% of companies located in the United States have senior leadership teams that do not reflect the demographic composition of the country’s population.

One way to combat bias (and therefore, increase diversity among the workplace) is to take a hard look at your screening and assessment processes. Inclusive hiring practices tell us that a blind screening process should be used. (Blind recruitment is when HR professionals remove personally identifiable information from resumes before reviewing them, and there is a lot of evidence to suggest it works.) Removing names, ages and genders from resumes before screening them gives each candidate the opportunity to present solely by their previous experience and skill sets — not by where they were born or when. Whether we admit it or not, personal information holds connotations that often lend way to assumptions.

Some recruiters might argue that they can leave bias out of their hiring process without blinding the resume review. However, research shows that unconscious bias, the learned stereotypes that are ingrained and unintentional, affects the way everyone makes decisions. It’s far more prevalent and harmful than conscious bias, and can thwart diversity initiatives at companies. That’s why it’s better to eliminate the opportunity for it with blind recruitment.

And combating bias doesn’t stop at resume screening — hiring managers and HR teams must also actively work to ensure their assessment process is as holistic and inclusive as possible. Offering open-ended questions that allow for skills-based assessments while accounting for cognitive differences and work style preferences is by far the best way to assess candidates holistically.

Rethink your tech tools

Companies sometimes opt to find top talent with AI technologies that predict a candidate’s fit for a position. However, recent research suggests that while those technologies are convenient and expedient, they also are at risk of bringing even more bias to the hiring process. Companies like Brilliant Hire are combatting this issue by offering HR professionals an alternative: Blind application screening powered by a network of professionals to reduce unconscious and conscious hiring bias.

To prioritize inclusiveness during the hiring process, organizations need to rethink their tech tools and assess them thoughtfully. Make sure automation and efficiency doesn’t derail diversity and inclusion efforts by thoroughly vetting every hiring technology used by a company’s HR department. Ultimately, aim to cut down on AI bias by making sure the technology used is backed by human assurance.

Onboard for success

Inclusive hiring doesn’t stop when an offer has been extended. Instead, HR teams and hiring managers should continue to approach the onboarding process with inclusivity. When employees feel safe at work, they are more likely to be vulnerable within their teams and take risks that could lead to new discoveries, solutions and technologies. (Onboarding successfully also has major implications for employee retention and can save companies money on hiring in the long run.)

Diversity and inclusion should be a mindset, a way of operating a company — not just a means to a statistical parity end. While HR departments at tech companies are responsible for ensuring their applicant, interviewee and hiree pools are representative of the larger population, it’s also up to managers and the employee community at large to foster a sense of safety and inclusivity during onboarding. For more tips on how to onboard successfully — especially in a remote world — check out our recent blog.

Maintaining inclusivity during remote hiring

In the wake of COVID-19, you may be wondering if and how inclusive hiring practices can apply to your new remote hiring strategies. In short, yes! In fact, inclusive hiring is even more important during remote hiring — without in person interviews, it’s easier for candidates to feel alienated and in-the-dark about company culture.

To combat this and find new ways to infuse inclusivity into each stage of your remote hiring process, check out these great resources on our blog:

How Brilliant Hire can help

Brilliant Hire is our team’s answer to an incessantly broken hiring process. We’ve heard way too many stories of interview bias, inefficient hiring and poor candidate experience — so we have sought out to fix it. The premise of our goal is that resumes are a terrible way to assess a candidate, and that holistic assessments that take into account learning and thought process differences are by far the best way to get a sense of candidate skills.

At its core, Brilliant Hire is bias-free, skills-based, pre-screening platform that helps digitize recruiting to provide faster and greater insights. The goal behind it is to enable ‘blind hiring’ through anonymous evaluations from a network of expert screeners. The result is a faster, more inclusive hiring process focusing on what candidates can do, not what they write on their resume.

Our platform allows companies to leverage assessments that are evaluated by a network of subject matter experts to quickly and objectively screen candidates. The platform uses a mix of question types to get a full picture of the candidate and, though we are tech-focused, our assessments can be used for any type of role. Candidates are evaluated based on their responses to a series of questions and the outcomes are shared with recruiters — without their names and affiliations.

Ultimately, Brilliant Hire helps create a more inclusive candidate experience by ensuring that candidates are evaluated on their skills alone. We believe that each interview process a candidate goes through should be an opportunity for learning. With that in mind, we’ve done away with the standard cookie cutter rejection emails (who wants to receive one of those, anyways?), and replaced them with personalized feedback for each candidate based on their assessment and interview performance. That way, each candidate walks away from the interview process feeling thoughtfully included, and with actionable insights into where their skills sat compared to other applicants.

Hiring managers will be happy that aside from bringing inclusivity back to the hiring process, Brilliant Hire also helps to increase hiring efficiency. Our technology is AI-powered, but human-assured — so that companies can find, assess and onboard their best-fits in a shorter amount of time and without unwanted (but common) hiring bias. Our reliance on a network of human experts is what sets us apart from other AI-based recruiting softwares that allow biases to remain at play while assessing candidates. We use AI, too — but only as far as the technology increases efficiency. Put simply: we'll maximize efficiency of process, but we've put the human touch back into recruitment in the places where efficiency veers into the danger zone (and diversity is instead infringed upon, rather than promoted).

Conclusion

The hiring process is an inherently broken system, and fixing it will take some serious time and effort. While implementing our platform is a great first step, hiring managers and HR teams will ultimately need to infuse inclusivity into every single stage of the hiring process in order to create a better, more thoughtful candidate experience. As tedious as it may seem, we urge you to not let perfection be the enemy of progress.

If inclusive hiring efforts seem like a lot to tackle all at once, take it step by step. Above all, make sure your organization is putting in additional time to do what’s right even when it’s not the “easy” way to hire. We promise: one low-hanging fruit at a time will make a big difference. Over time, you’ll be empowered to take on bigger and bigger hiring process challenges, and your organization, its diversity, its employees and its bottom-line will all be better for it.