It may be hard to acknowledge, but bias in the hiring process happens daily at countless companies. Many times, biases go unnoticed because they're subconscious, but the results are detrimental. Great talent is won by companies who address the problem of unconscious bias head-on.
Promoting inclusive hiring benefits both the company and its employees. Here’s exactly why inclusive hiring practices matter so much, plus 6 clear strategies you can implement today:
What is Inclusive Hiring?
Inclusive hiring is the act of recognizing diversity and acknowledging that a wide variety of candidates and perspectives are valuable to your organization.
Rather than making diverse hires for the sake of meeting an ambiguous quota, inclusive selection focuses on skill-based hiring. It works to level the playing field for all applicants and actively fights against any form of bias or discrimination.
While many laws protect against hiring-based discrimination, truly inclusive hiring goes beyond that. Many types of diversity exist outside these legally protected classes, and it’s these perspectives that inclusive hiring seeks to accommodate, too.
Why does Inclusive Hiring matter?
There are many reasons why diversity in hiring matters, enough for an entire article. Here’s the TLDR version:
- Companies in the “top quartile for racial and ethnic diversity” have a 35% greater chance of seeing financial returns better than average. (McKinsey)
- For every “10% increase in racial and ethnic diversity” at the senior-executive level, EBIT increases by 0.8%. (McKinsey)
- 86% of candidates around the world state that DEI at work matters to them. (Monster)
So, not only does inclusive hiring positively impact your company’s bottom line, but it attracts and retains top talent. A win-win!
6 Inclusive Hiring Practices to Implement Today
Now that you understand what inclusive hiring is and why it matters, here are the 6 most accessible inclusive hiring practices you can begin implementing today.
1. Define what Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion looks like at your company
The most common forms of diversity mentioned are race and gender; however, inclusion goes well beyond those factors. Diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) can encompass the following:
- Veteran status
- Physical ability
- Generational inclusivity
- Body size representation
Decide for your organization which intersectionalities you want to prioritize immediately. It’s okay to acknowledge that actively fighting against all kinds of intersectionalities within diversity is a step too large. Instead, recognize all types of experiences and focus on a select few, slowly expanding over time.
2. Start talking about bias
Talking about bias can be a productive way to promote inclusive hiring. But first, let’s quickly define the two types of biases:
- Conscious bias. This is someone who’s actively discriminatory towards a particular type of person. An example would be a boss intentionally passing over the most qualified female candidate for promotion and giving it to a man instead.
- Unconscious bias. In most organizations, this is the most typical form of prejudice. It is a type of bias unrecognized by a person because it operates in the subconscious. An example would be an interviewer unintentionally selecting candidates with white-sounding names for the subsequent hiring round over those with more diverse names (this happens by 50% across identical resumes).
Since we aren’t aware of unconscious bias, thoughtful dialogue helps us bring those biases to light. Not sure where to start? Facebook has an unconscious bias training broken up into short 5-15 minute modules. These can be productive conversation starters.
3. Write better, more-inclusive job descriptions
Writing great job descriptions is a central part of inclusive hiring practices. But what counts as great is a bit more specific if you’re talking about promoting skills-based hiring.
First, ensure you’re using inclusive language. This means avoiding gender-based terms (“Our ideal candidate is XYZ. He knows how to ABC.”) and industry jargon. Zillow Group attracted 10-11% more female applicants by using specific words in their JDs.
Additionally, you’ll want to emphasize job responsibilities over requirements and eliminate degree requirements unless they are essential. And never prioritize “elite” institutions over other universities!
4. Broaden your job posting scope and seek out underrepresented communities
When you think of job sites, a select few probably come to mind first. These include the likes of LinkedIn, Indeed, Monster, and perhaps a couple of others.
However, there are many job boards dedicated to attracting more diverse talent. These can be helpful tools for implementing inclusive hiring.
Here are some job boards to add to your list:
5. Standardize your interview process
Interview bias can be perilous, and it can prevent interviewers from selecting the most qualified candidate possible. To best combat that, all candidates should go through an identical interview process.
Here are some tips on standardizing interviews for inclusive hiring:
- Standardize interview questions
- Take notes and don’t rely on memory or first impressions
- Use an interview rubric
- Build an interview guide and stick to it (example)
We wrote an entire article on eliminating bias in interviews if you want to learn more.
6. When using assessment tools, grade them anonymously
Assessment tools provide a wide range of benefits and can save money and time. Some of their benefits include:
- offering data-driven insights (an excellent way to mitigate bias)
- allowing for personality tests to ensure new hires are a strong culture fit
- offering skill assessment tools to screen candidates pre-interview
That said, unconscious bias can slip in if you grade tests knowing whose assessment you’re looking at.
Not only should the same evaluation be given to all candidates, but these should be graded anonymously. Doing so prevents graders from accidentally being “harsher” towards candidates they identify less with (aka unconscious bias).
Looking to hire developers? CodeSubmit has the perfect coding challenges for your inclusive hiring process. We put candidate experience first and focus on hiring candidates fairly using over 65 languages and frameworks. Learn more today!
It's time to implement inclusive hiring!
That’s it! You’re officially armed with the top 6 ways you can crush bias and promote inclusive hiring.
Although it’s easy to let bias creep in, taking steps to actively promote diversity will help your organization and employees thrive well into the future.