SmartRecruiters Hiring Success Journal

Five Ways to Ensure Your Hiring Practice is Fair and Effective

Technology has made it easier than ever to source high-quality candidates, here’s what you need to do next to make your selection process doesn’t fall prey to inherent bias.

Recruiting strategies are ever-evolving. With the advents of email, social media, networking profiles, and even specialized recruiting websites, many of the challenges of finding great talent have been significantly rectified.

Specialists are no longer scratching their heads, wondering where to look for their next great recruit. Talent is abundantly present. But with the latest evolutions in the talent search come the responsibility and obligation for recruiters to ask if they’re searching fairly, doing everything in their power to create an inclusive workforce.

Recruiters are the gatekeepers of any organization, deciding whose voices are allowed to come in and shape the future of your mission. In order to ensure that mission is not lacking in a variety of perspectives and experience, consider the following tips on how to recruit with inclusion intentionally in mind.

Language in job descriptions

Did you know you can create a more inclusive workforce even before a candidate comes in to interview? Do this by considering the way language plays a role in which candidates apply.

Whether intentionally or not, certain job descriptions can turn away applicants with the implications of their verbiage. While it’s illegal to discriminate against candidates for factors such as their gender or age, some job descriptions will inadvertently steer candidates away because they sound too “young” or “male-centric.”

According to job listing site Indeed.com, the use of the word “ninja” in job descriptions increased 400 percent from January 2012 to October 2016. “Rockstar” is another buzzword in hiring these days. Recruiters may have thought they were cracking a code by using a gender neutral term to increase interest, but is that really the case?

For one, ninjas are rarely portrayed as women in popular media. Also, what age do you think the word “ninja” is going to attract? Typically, it’s a word applied in job listings for tech startups, or other organizations looking for young hires. Don’t say you want customer success rockstars, say you want candidates who are naturally skilled at communication. In general, avoid cliches.

Ad location for job listings

According to Inc, 79 percent of job seekers use social media in their search. But where are the other 21 percent?

If your recruiting process focuses on one channel or method, you’re missing a lot of talent elsewhere. To attract diverse applicants, use diverse methods. It’s possible your perfect candidate is still passing out resumes when you only accept applications online.

This isn’t to say you should revert to outdated processes. Rather, hiring teams should look to e-recruiting and make your company and roles accessible on a number of platforms. If you’re looking for candidates with 15+ years of experience, you shouldn’t post that ad solely on the same platforms where you’re asking for entry-level candidates.

Focusing on talent vs experience

Resources suggest that in order to be more inclusive, hiring managers and recruiters should focus less on exact experience and more on what the candidate could, and would need to accomplish. Give them opportunities to paint their talents as it pertains to the job.

Entrepreneur provides a helpful guide on Why, and How, to Hire for Potential Over Experience. This article encourages you to use the interview as an opportunity to speak beyond the resume, asking industry-related questions, as well as querying personal experience.

Canned questions

One way to reduce unconscious bias in your hiring and recruiting process is to have a list of canned questions you ask across the board. At their core, interviews are a conversation, and no two will be the same. As you meet different candidates, their experience may spur the conversation in another direction. This is okay! The idea with canned questions isn’t to kill the natural flow of an interview. It’s to send you into interviews with similar expectations of what each candidate needs to live up to. There’s no reason to make one jump through hoops, while another has a smooth-sailing, easy-going conversation.

Use specialized agencies or networks

Maybe you’re trying all of these tips, and are still having a hard time diversifying your candidates and prioritizing inclusion. Your current network is often so good at providing top quality candidates it’s easy to overlook the need to expand beyond that inner circle.

But the benefits of a diversified workplace are numerous: not only for your company, but also for everyone who works there.

According to an article published by Bentley University, “Research has shown that having a diverse workforce increases a company’s profits. Diverse companies also have more success in attracting talented employees, keeping their workforce engaged, and driving innovation.”

That’s not all. The article goes on to provide exact statistics as to how diversity affects workplace success.

Companies with the most gender-diverse executive teams are 21 percent more likely to experience above-average profitability than companies with the least gender-diverse executive teams, according to a 2018 report from McKinsey & Company. When it comes to ethnic and cultural diversity, companies with the most diverse executive teams are 33 percent more likely to outperform companies with the least diverse executive teams, the report found.

If your network is producing one type of candidate, leverage other resources. There are agencies that exist to help you expand beyond the same pool of candidates you’ve been swimming in for years. Make working with agencies for people with disabilities, or people of disenfranchised ethnicities, a key part in your recruiting processes.  

Good luck!

Recruiters have the privilege of meeting all kinds of people and learning about their backgrounds and varied histories. It’s a privilege to be able to hear about the lives of others and to be a part of offering them the opportunity to grow at your organization. But even more so, it’s a privilege to your organization to be able to learn from others.

Follow these tips for recruiting inclusively and your workplace is bound to be better for it.

Grace Pinegar

Grace Pinegar