How to Achieve Diversity and Inclusion in Recruitment

Written by
Hamish Livingston
Last updated:
Created on:
February 15, 2024

How to Achieve Diversity and Inclusion in Recruitment

Diversity and inclusion has become an important organizational consideration over the past few years. Companies are coming to terms with disparities in the workplace and implementing initiatives to create a culture of inclusion.

Recruiting needs to play a key role in this process.

Left unchecked, recruiting can easily be driven by unconscious biases. But there’s good news—relatively simple changes to tools, stages, and practices that make up your recruitment process can lead to massive improvements in diversity and inclusion.

Read on for Willo’s guide to achieving diversity and inclusion in recruitment.

What Is Diversity and Inclusion in Recruitment?

Diversity and inclusion in recruitment can mean a few different things.

At a minimum, it’s about building a recruitment process that gives everyone a fair chance at success, regardless of race, gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, age, religion, or any other protected or historically marginalized characteristic. Achieving this means stripping away any unconscious biases that can affect the outcome of the recruitment process, using tools and techniques that target skills and experience.

In addition to this, diversity and inclusion in recruitment can also mean building a recruitment process that addresses underrepresentation in the workplace. This could involve targeted outreach to minority groups and focusing on job descriptions that appeal to diverse candidates.

In both cases, the goal is the same—to build a workplace where different people and perspectives are seen as strengths.

Why Is Diversity and Inclusion in Recruitment Important? 

  • Grows your talent pool: According to a recent survey conducted by Deloitte, 80% of participants reported that inclusion is essential when choosing an employer. So, organizations that embrace inclusive recruitment will attract interest from a wide range of candidates and benefit from a larger talent pool than those that don’t. 
  • Reduced employee turnover: Another study by Deloitte revealed that inclusive organizations experience 22% lower turnover rates. Diversity and inclusion, starting from the recruitment process, create a more welcoming workplace. When your employees feel accepted and valued, they're encouraged to stay longer with your organization. 
  • Different perspectives: Diversity in your organization means that your employees will have different backgrounds and characteristics. This makes them more likely to have various unique perspectives to add to your business strategies and work culture. 
  • Higher profits: Increased profitability isn’t often the goal of diversity and inclusion initiatives, but it’s a welcome side effect. McKinsey found that companies in the top 25% for diversity were 36% more profitable than companies in the bottom 25%.

How to Achieve Diversity and Inclusion in Recruitment

1. Set recruitment and DEI goals

Recruitment is a goal-driven process. The only way you can tell if you’re making progress is if you have measurable success metrics and concrete targets. Without these, you’ll have no way of knowing if your initiatives are actually working.

Start with recruitment—what positions do you need to fill? By when? What kind of budget are you working with?

Then move onto diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) targets. Large-scale studies have found that internal diversity targets are an effective way to create lasting, positive organizational changes surrounding DEI.

When setting these targets, be sure to:

  • Set goals that are measurable and time-bound.
  • Make sure your goals align with company values and objectives.
  • Track recruitment and DEI progress regularly.

2. Create a diversity recruitment strategy

With your goals in place, it’s time to develop a recruitment strategy. This document is your roadmap for hiring diverse talent—it eliminates guesswork and ensures that everyone that touches the recruitment process is on the same page.

Your strategy should be tailored to your organization’s needs and include:

  • Tools: What tools will be used to identify, track, and evaluate candidates? Think interviewing tools, ATS, etc.
  • Sources: Where are you going to look for diverse talent? Are there any specific job boards or conferences that you should target? Cultivating a diverse talent pool is the most effective way to support your diversity targets.
  • Outreach: How are you going to reach potential candidates? Will you be using email, cold-calling, or other methods of outreach?
  • Interviewing plan: What is your plan for interviewing candidates? Think about the types of questions you'll ask, how many people are involved in the interview process, etc.
  • Hiring decision: Who is responsible for making the final decision and what criteria will be used to make that decision?

Be as specific as possible at this stage. The less you leave up to individual decision-makers, the less variable (and potentially biased) your hiring process will be.

3. Write inclusive job descriptions

The goal is to attract a diverse pool of candidates from the outset. To achieve that, you need to create job descriptions and employment resources that appeal to a wide range of applicants.

Here’s a list of considerations:

  • Use gender-neutral language: Obvious examples include words like “salesman” or “manpower.” Less obvious examples include words like “competitive”, “leading”, “ambitious”, or “strong”—these tend to attract fewer women and non-binary candidates.
  • Avoid unnecessary jargon: Some jargon is necessary, some jargon isn't. As much as possible, avoid technical or corporate language that could put off potential applicants who don’t understand it. For example, replace “ability to move the needle” with “ability to show results”.
  • Emphasize diversity: Highlight your organization’s commitment to diversity and inclusion, either in the job description itself or on your careers page. This could be through writing a diversity statement, showcasing images of your team, or mentioning any awards you’ve won for diversity.
  • Offer flexibility: Where possible, offer flexible options like remote working or part-time hours to make the job more attractive to a wider range of applicants. Think maternity and paternity leave provisions, sabbaticals for personal development, and professional development opportunities.
  • Get rid of unnecessary requirements: You probably don’t really care if a candidate has a degree in XYZ—you’re using education as a measure of their ability to do the job. Replace unnecessary requirements with screening and assessments that target job-related skills and qualities to open the door to more diverse applicants.

4. Use a diverse range of recruitment platforms

You should also be prioritizing diverse recruitment platforms. Where you post your job applications is also critical in influencing the type of talent you attract—many major job boards have slight biases that skew towards certain demographics.

For starters, consider using promoted social media posts or sharing your job openings through networking groups that include under-represented groups. There are also a ton of diversity-focused job boards you can consider:

Most organizations may avoid posting their job listings on a wide range of platforms because of the pressure that comes with screening a high volume of applicants. Fortunately, Willo’s async video interviewing platform helps you screen candidates at scale fairly. 

Source: How Async Video Interviews Helped Endava Hire 60 Interns in 1 Month

For example, when Endava received 400 intern applications in one hiring round, they were able to effectively screen applicants with Willo in just one month and fill the 60 available positions. Through async video interviewing, they were able to learn about candidates on a deer, more personal level than resumes and CVs could provide.

5. Prepare for an inclusive interview

When conducting your interviews, you’ll want to be prepared beforehand. Even if you’re conducting a one-way interview with a tool like Willo, it’s important to think carefully about the questions you ask.

Here are some ways to make your interviews more inclusive:

  • Offer time slots that don’t interfere with religious commitments, childcare, or other activities. Alternatively, you can use async interviews.
  • Use gender-neutral language.
  • Ask questions that go beyond technical skills and consider “soft” skills like team dynamics and leadership potential.
  • Be aware of cultural differences in communication styles.

A great way to make sure your interviews are inclusive is by putting your candidates at ease. 

Source: Capterra

By implementing an asynchronous video interview, using tools like Willo, candidates aren’t burdened with the pressure of on-the-spot questioning. They can conveniently and comfortably record their interviews at a time that works for them.

This gives candidates the confidence and flexibility they need to put their best foot forward. Plus, it allows recruiters to review responses at their own pace—a win-win.

6. Create a scorecard

During the interview process, it’s important to give recruiters a systematic way to track applicant performance. 

This is where an interview scorecard comes in handy.

Source: 4 Ways To Use Willo Scorecards To Improving Hiring Confidence

A scorecard gives recruiters a consistent way of evaluating applicants so that there is no bias or subjectivity during the screening process. You define success criteria ahead of time and then rate each candidate according to those criteria. This ensures that all the candidates are judged fairly and based on the same set of standards.

Willo gives recruiters the ability to create scorecards and assign them to jobs for easy, unbiased comparisons between candidates and groups. You can define criteria and add descriptions to each criterion to construct a scorecard that accurately reflects the values of your brand.

Use this scorecard to judge responses during interviews to limit bias and make notes and observations directly comparable.

7. Make shortlisting fair

To reduce unconscious bias in your selection process, question the traits you prioritize in candidates and determine if they truly impact the job role or if they stem from bias. You should also try to determine whether your testing methods favor a particular group.

One effective way to avoid bias in your resume screening process is to leverage the power of AI in your ATS. Set your program to filter and flag for specific skills and let AI analyze applicant resumes for those skills. 

You should also involve a diverse panel of recruiters and managers to review interviews and notes. Willo makes this easy with the Showcase™ feature—you can easily share recorded async interviews with any internal stakeholders for feedback. They’re free to add comments or notes that feed into the decision-making process.

Recruit Diverse Talent With Willo

Diversity shouldn't be treated as just another box to tick. It’s an ongoing process that requires consistent management and monitoring. The tips we shared are a great starting point for achieving more inclusive hiring practices, and you can continuously fine-tune them to fit your needs. 

Fortunately, recruitment tools like Willo are here to help. Our async video interviewing platform allows you to give candidates a fair, flexible experience while allowing your recruiters to review and shortlist candidates at their convenience.

Ready to start screening top diverse talent at scale? Sign up today and explore Willo for yourself!

Hamish Livingston
VP of Product
LinkedIn profile

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