4 Steps to Improving Inclusion in Your Hiring Process

4 Steps to Improving Inclusion in Your Hiring Process

Almost every talent acquisition and HR leader I connect with focuses on improving diversity and inclusion in their hiring process.

The list of strategies, tactics, and approaches you can take is long. It is sometimes a challenge to know where to start. Starting at the top of the funnel with attraction may make sense, depending on where you are in your inclusion journey. For many organizations, however, starting with your interviewing and selection process is better. If your process is not optimized for inclusion, attracting more diverse talent at the top of the funnel can be problematic and negatively impact your brand. If you attract more diverse candidates, yet they have a negative experience and are selected at a different rate than the majority candidates, you will amplify your inclusion challenges.

To improve inclusion in your hiring process, consider these 4 steps:

1. Remove names and other identifying information from resumes. Studies prove that unconscious bias plays a role in candidate selection. Names that clearly indicate gender, age, race, etc., can cause reviewers to make decisions that are not based on objective criteria. Consider removing school and organization names, as well. Volunteer and other extracurricular activities can also indicate members in different social groups.

2. Clearly define the competencies and skills needed for the role before you start screening resumes. Build an objective list of requirements that can be gleaned from a résumé and review each résumé against that list. Move candidates who check all of the required boxes to the next stage. The same person should review all resumes to ensure consistent evaluation of all candidates. Review all resumes at the same time vs. individually as they come in. This approach allows you to compare candidate qualifications against the standard and each other simultaneously vs. looking at a single résumé independently and deciding to move that candidate forward or not.

3. Train all interviewers on evaluating candidates through structured competency and skill-based interviews. That training should include understanding competencies, developing interviewing skills, evaluating candidate responses based on objective criteria, and avoiding bias throughout the process. Despite what many people think, interviewing is a skill that needs to be taught, developed, and regularly evaluated.

4. Make hiring decisions based on the objective results of the interviews vs. the skill and competency requirements outlined before the process started. Gut feelings have no place in the selection process. Ensure perspectives from all interviewers are heard, but keep feedback based on skills and competencies.

I could write 10 posts on this topic (and maybe I will), as there are many levers to pull to increase diversity and inclusion in hiring. What else do you think organizations should consider?

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