5 Tips for Inclusive Recruiting

Don’t meet every single requirement? Studies have shown that women and people of color are less likely to apply to jobs unless they meet every single qualification. At (company), we are dedicated to building a diverse, inclusive and authentic workplace, so if you’re excited about this role but your past experience doesn’t align perfectly with every qualification in the job description, we encourage you to apply anyways. You might just be the right candidate for this or other roles.”

This was recently included in an actual job posting. I found it posted in an HR group on Facebook and the feedback from HR professionals was pretty negative. The company may have had good intentions, but the message sent was, as one respondent put it, “offensive”.

So how can companies ensure that they are being inclusive in their recruiting processes? How can they put their Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion policy to work and make it effective in recruiting talent? Yes, the statement in the job posting is correct, women and people of color ARE less likely to apply for positions if they don’t meet all of the requirements of the job posting. One study shows that men will apply for a job if they meet 60% of the requirements while women will not apply unless they meet 100% of the requirements, but what is the right way to combat that? It’s definitely not putting that statistic in a job posting.

Here are 5 practical steps:

  1. Review your job descriptions. Be honest with yourself, are your qualifications must have or really wants? Break out your qualifications into required and preferred. Also ask yourself if the degree requirements are absolutely necessary. Can someone who is self-taught with five years of experience in the field perform the work just as well as someone who has a degree and no experience? If you’re job description has a weight lifting requirement, is it accurate for the job? Is that position really required to lift 50 pounds on a regular basis or are they lifting 15 pounds on a regular basis and once every month they might have to lift 50 pounds and can actually get someone else to lift that for them if necessary. If you’re not sure about your requirements, do a job analysis and ask someone currently in the role what they feel someone needs to have in order to be successful in that role.
  2. Use gender neutral language. Instead of using he or she, try speaking directly to the person reading the job description by using “you” instead. If that won’t work, use they/their.
  3. Consider where you are posting your jobs. While Indeed and Linkedin are great sources for candidates, are you utilizing resources that can help you target underrepresented populations? Are there veterans’organizations that you can send your job postings to? Are there job boards or associations that target specific populations (like Women Who  Code)?
  4. Incorporate diversity into every step of your recruiting process. Think carefully about who to include in the interview process. Imagine being a female interviewing for a leadership role and you’re scheduled for a panel interview with five members of the leadership team. You walk into the panel interview and the five individuals sitting across the table from you are all men. What impression do you think that would give? Would that be representative of the diversity of your organization?
  5. Train interviewers on biases. We all have biases, whether we realize it or not. And those biases play a part in how we interview and how we rate candidates. By understanding what the potential biases are, we can better identify them and minimize the impact they have in our decision making.

How can you create a more inclusive recruiting program in your organization?


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Lorrie Coffey