Flaws exist in the recruitment process and structures of many companies. These flaws can lead to the recruitment of a non-diverse workforce.
Many companies request the best person for the role. In addition, they would like a balance in their team because they had all males or all females. They would also express the desire for different age groups and cultures to ensure they were meeting their diversity targets.
So why then is there still a problem with diversity and equality? The internet is full of how to recruit for diversity / equality and it all sounds so simple and obvious - but is it?
Five effective recruitment practices to ensure equality
- Start with your Human Resources team
A lot of HR teams consist mainly of women - teams not diverse enough in culture or age. As an employer, make sure that the area representing your work force (HR) is equal in every way. Break the stereotype that HR is a women’s job and don’t send the message to the industry that we only hire a type. Have diversity in HR and that will filter to the rest of the organisation. Make sure your HR areas are active in recruitment and that there is a structured process hiring managers need to follow. This will prevent managers hiring friends outside processes. Make sure HR is accountable with strict KPIs for diversity targets and salary equity throughout the company.
- Ensure there are targets in the application process
If you are a hiring manager and you want to make sure you are seeing a diverse range of candidates, then it is up to you to lead. Hiring managers often give a weak brief to HR managers due to lack of time and not focusing on the importance of what they were doing. As a manager it is understandable that you want the best person for the role. How do you know you have the best person if you have not seen a diverse group from the market to compare? Take the time to brief your HR area on exactly what you want and insist that you see an equal number of male / female candidates, including candidates with diverse backgrounds and ages. If not, ask why not.
- Stop swimming in the same pools
One of the reasons people always hired in their image was because they were only looking in the area’s they travelled in. Too many times employers rely on referrals from people they know (who are just like them) or use the same recruitment firm year after year without forming new relationships with other firms who may have different pools. Companies would set requirements in the position description that would unintentionally eliminate certain candidates (mainly women) from applying. These candidates both internal and external would feel they didn’t tick enough boxes. For example, one time a client asked me to find them a female candidate who had 10 years plus experience in the executive role they were hiring for. I had to advise them that there was not one female in Australia at the time who had that background, because it was male dominated. They needed to change their experience level and focus on capabilities. Once they did that it increased their reach and opened up new pools to access.
- Don’t let one person make the decision to hire
If you are working in a mid to large organisation and want to get the best person for a role you are hiring for, make sure you have an interview panel. Most of the time people are too close to the process and start to form a bond with a candidate - and then miss obvious flaws that candidate may have. It is always important to have a fresh eye (ideally a manager from another area) who could sit in on the final interviews. They will be able to see things you don’t. Ideally you would have a panel of 3 to 4, of both genders with different backgrounds and ages if possible.
- Be open about equality and diversity with all your staff
When the conversation of equality and diversity comes up, nearly everyone believes they do everything possible to ensure they have a diverse workforce. These conversations are almost always at upper levels and not communicated enough down the line. It is important to include all of your employees about the importance of diversity and equality so there is an understanding and buy in from everyone. This is not via on-line tutorials - face to face discussions with your staff and getting them involved is the only way to get real buy in and make change. The whole team needs to see the importance.