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HR’s Guide to Inclusive and Equitable Hiring

Equity is essential to any good hiring process. Here’s how you can make it a priority!

by Elle Mason - September 13, 2022

“We just don’t know anyone.”

“We didn’t get any diverse applicants.”

“We’re not interested in checking off a box or just meeting a quota.”

These are common refrains when asked about the progress of hiring underrepresented groups into an organization. But is there any truth to them?

For small and medium-sized companies, often, their network is the first place they go when they need to fill a position. And if everyone who currently works there is from a similar background, and their network is made up of people from similar backgrounds, how can one ever hope to find a substantial number of applicants from underrepresented backgrounds? And further – how can one ensure they’re not subjected to bias in the hiring process?

This article will cover more broadly what equitable or inclusive hiring is, why it’s important in the modern workplace, and which equitable hiring practices HR professionals should implement. It will also cover how HR technology and recruiting software can:

  • Help identify unconscious bias in hiring decisions
  • Allow for a more diverse applicant pool
  • Automate the tracking of hiring goals and progress
  • Help your team celebrate success!

What is Equitable Hiring?

Equitable hiring, also referred to as inclusive hiring, is the active recognition of what diversity can bring to the workforce – and the intentional effort to cultivate it through hiring practices. It aims to level the playing field for applicants – and remove bias and discrimination from the current hiring system in place.

In short, equitable hiring:

  • Creates fair and inclusive hiring practices
  • Battles bias and discrimination in hiring
  • Recognizes diversity across all backgrounds and group

There are a number of HR software solutions that can help you eliminate outdated and biased hiring practices.

One such solution is HireVue. This video interviewing platform helps you assess candidates based on their skills and qualifications, rather than their appearance or background. This eliminates the need for biased interview questions or hiring practices and helps you find the best candidates for the job.

Another great solution is Greenhouse. This recruiting software has tools that help you build a diverse and inclusive hiring pipeline. It allows you to track your hiring progress over time, identify areas for improvement, and measure the impact of your diversity and inclusion initiatives.

Both HireVue and Greenhouse are great tools for supporting a more equitable hiring process. They help you remove bias from the hiring process, identify talented candidates from all backgrounds, and measure the success of your diversity and inclusion initiatives.

What are the Benefits of Equitable Hiring and Why is it Important?

When it comes to hiring, diversity and inclusion are critical for two main reasons.

Hiring a diverse team leads to better business outcomes

From a performance and business standpoint, diversity – and inclusive hiring practices – are critical. It can increase and improve productivity, innovation, and bottom line – as well as build retention and attract new talent through positive branding and reputation. This often trickles down to the clients and customer base and creates a more holistically inclusive and welcoming work environment. In other words, by investing in equitable hiring and in diversity and inclusion practices more broadly, employers are investing in the performance of their people and their organization.

A recent study by McKinsey found that companies in the top quartile for racial and ethnic diversity were 35 percent more likely to have financial returns above their national industry medians. And those in the top quartile for gender diversity were 15 percent more likely to have returns above their national industry medians.

Hiring a diverse team creates a more inclusive environment that is welcoming to everyone

Equitable and inclusive hiring is a key component of building diversity & inclusion in any given workplace. After all, launching an inclusion initiative for a workforce that is largely similar and then bonding over that fact won’t get you the outcomes you’re looking for – whatever those may be. To truly be diverse and inclusive, you must ensure that you’re bringing diverse people into the fold from the very beginning.

When everyone feels welcome and included, they are more likely to be productive and innovative. This is good for business and for the world as a whole.

Best Practices For Equitable and Inclusive Hiring

Equitable hiring practices are critical in today’s workplace. They ensure that all candidates have an opportunity to be considered for a job, regardless of their background or identity. Implementing the following practices can help your organization eliminate outdated and biased hiring practices.

Create diverse talent pipelines

One way to improve your hiring process is to create better talent pipelines. This involves deepening the candidate pool and strengthening the employer-candidate network and connection. In short: If candidates don’t know the opportunities that exist, they can’t apply in the first place.

You also should ensure that all potential candidates have information about or are otherwise prepared for what your hiring process looks like. What is being assessed? How many interviews will there be? Will there be any form of assignment and if so, what’s the estimated time for completion? This helps avoid giving some people an insider advantage while leaving others at a disadvantage.

Review the job descriptions and the earliest candidate touch-points

You need to review how you write your company’s job descriptions and improve the earliest candidate touch-points. Consider the following:

  • How accessible is your website for people with disabilities?
  • Who are your job descriptions written to appeal to?
  • How inclusive is the language used in your branding and web copy?

Many employers don’t necessarily think about these things but they are some of the earliest interactions that a potential candidate will have with an employer – and they help to shape the brand. If these early touch points aren’t speaking to a broad audience and if they’re not being disseminated across diverse groups, those candidates will never get the opportunity to apply.

Be consistent

When it comes to hiring, it’s important to be consistent with best practices for diversity, equity, and inclusion. This means treating all candidates in a fair and equal manner, regardless of their background or personal characteristics. It’s also important to create a controlled environment where all candidates are evaluated equally.

Consider, for example, one candidate who strikes an immediate rapport with the interview over a shared hobby, and the interviewer deciding not to ask them any of the typical interview questions. In contrast, a second candidate is strictly rated and evaluated on a list of specific criteria. Make sure that all candidates are asked the same questions.

Be coordinated

DEI should be top of mind when coordinating with your team. By ensuring that everyone involved in the hiring process is aware of and understands the importance of DEI, you can create a more fair and equitable hiring process for all candidates.

One way to do this is by training interviewers on how to assess competencies fairly and without bias. Interviewers should be aware of the different ways in which they might unconsciously discriminate against certain candidates. For example, they may be more likely to ask a female candidate questions about her family life or child-rearing plans than they would a male candidate.

Training interviewers on how to avoid these types of biases is just one way to promote DEI during the hiring process. Other ways to ensure inclusive hiring practices include:

  • Establishing hiring criteria with your team that are based on job requirements rather than personal preferences
  • Having your hiring panel review resumes and applications without identifying information that could lead to unconscious bias, such as name or educational institution
  • Coaching your team to conduct interviews in a way that allows all candidates an equal opportunity to sell themselves
  • Avoiding subjective rating systems, such as those that use stars or rankings, in favor of more objective measures

Create diverse interview panels

When it comes to hiring, creating a diverse interview panel is one of the best practices you can follow. This is because it allows for different perspectives and backgrounds to evaluate potential candidates. Diverse interview panels can help identify qualities that may be missed if the hiring process was conducted by a smaller, more homogeneous group and create a well-rounded view and highlight different qualities in candidates.

Another great way to promote hiring equity is by conducting group interviews. This allows for different voices to be heard and can help identify potential candidates who may have been overlooked in a traditional one-on-one interview setting. Ideally, group interviews include at least two members of underrepresented groups.

Reflect on your existing hiring practices

When building your hiring strategy, it’s important to keep in mind that there are often qualified candidates who don’t fit into the traditional mold. Therefore, it’s important to be open to hiring someone who can influence or add to the company in a new way. Hiring managers should reflect on the following questions:

  • What assumptions are being made about this applicant and their background?
  • Is there too much emphasis being placed on their “polish” “culture fit” or “presence?”
  • Are you open to hiring a candidate that can influence or add to the culture in a new way, or are you looking for someone that fits into the existing culture?
  • Is it possible that the candidate is qualified in ways that are less familiar to you?
  • Are there opportunities for transferrable skills to come into play or for the candidate to grow into the role with training and coaching?

How Can HR Technology Aid In Equitable Hiring Efforts?

As an HR software solution, GoCo can aid in creating a more diverse, equitable, and inclusive hiring process. Here are some of the ways in which GoCo can help:

Consistent Onboarding

With GoCo, hiring managers can easily start the onboarding process, send digital offer letters to new employees and empower empowering them to enroll in benefits on their own. Additionally, hiring managers can use GoCo’s pre-boarding checklist to ensure consistency in the hiring process. This helps to eliminate any bias or outdated hiring practices.

FAQs about Inclusive and Equitable Hiring

There are a few key strategies for improving diversity, equity and inclusion in a company’s hiring process:

  • Make sure the job listing is clear and inclusive, and that it appeals to a wide range of candidates.
  • Use blind resume reviews to remove any potential bias from the selection process.
  • Conduct interviews in a way that allows all candidates to be fairly considered.
  • Evaluate candidates using objective criteria, such as skills and experience.
  • Promote diversity and inclusion throughout the entire hiring process, from job listing to onboarding new employees.

Improving diversity, equity and inclusion in the workplace is important because it not only creates a more inclusive and diverse workplace, but it also can lead to better business outcomes. A study by McKinsey found that companies in the top quartile for racial and ethnic diversity were 35% more likely to have financial returns above their industry median. And a separate study by Deloitte found that gender-diverse companies are 15% more likely to have financial returns above their industry median. This is because a diverse workforce brings with it a variety of different perspectives, which can lead to better problem-solving and innovation. Additionally, creating an inclusive workplace where everyone feels comfortable speaking up and sharing their ideas can help employees feel valued and supported, leading to increased productivity and engagement.

There are a few key arguments you can make to convince leadership at your company that improving diversity, equity, and inclusion in the hiring process is important:

You can point to the many studies that have shown the business benefits of diversity. Diversity has been shown to be beneficial for businesses in many ways. For example, it can lead to increased creativity and innovation and improved problem-solving. Diversity can also help companies attract and retain top talent, and improve customer service. In addition, research has shown that diverse teams are more profitable and productive than teams made up of homogeneous individuals.

You should also explain that improving diversity, equity and inclusion in the hiring process is simply the right thing to do. It’s important to create an inclusive workplace where everyone feels comfortable speaking up and sharing their ideas, so that employees feel valued and supported. This can lead to increased productivity and engagement.

GoCo also has an extensive and expanding range of features in support of DEI. These features include expanded pronoun functionality, anonymous workflows/suggestions, and the removal of legal sex from onboarding. With these features, hiring managers can create an equal hiring experience for all applicants.

If you’re looking for ways to promote hiring equity in your organization, or if you’re interested in learning more about how HR technology can help with equitable hiring practices, we encourage you to take a tour of GoCo. Our team is passionate about creating an equal hiring experience for all applicants and our extensive features in support of DEI reflect that commitment. With GoCo, hiring managers have everything they need to create a diverse and inclusive workforce.

See how GoCo can simplify your HR