10 Things to Change and Act-On In Your Inclusive Hiring Practices

Hiring Remote

Adding new and different perspectives to the table may be just what your business needs to get to the next level. Learn 10 ways to boost your DEI policies and align with the best candidates now:

Inclusive hiring is the best way to create an effective workforce of mighty talent, whether you’re building a remote team or filling a traditional office space.

But many companies are still struggling. And some have chosen to ignore it completely, to their own detriment. 

In this age of greater social awareness, it’s not just employees calling for more inclusivity -- your customers (and maybe even shareholders) now rightfully demand it too.

So if you want to become a shining example of a workplace that welcomes all races, genders, abilities, religions, and more, we’ll show you how to get started.

A quick note: The mindset of diversity and inclusivity needs to change. It’s not about being diverse to be diverse, inclusive to be inclusive, or only checking off how many BIPOC or people with disabilities work in your organization. By continuing to strive for a deep understanding of our individual and collective biases, we as businesses can do better to actually hire the right person for the job, with equity as our beacon. Once you’ve “achieved” the hiring steps below, remember that this is a small stepping stone in the overall picture of fighting against systemic inequality. We’re all in this together and we’ll be right here evolving along with you.

10 Things to Change and Act-On In Your Inclusive Hiring Practices

Make sure your diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) hiring efforts include these 10 best practices:

#1. Assess Your Current Situation and Team Members

Where exactly does your company stand on a demographics level?

Do you have a well-rounded team of people from all over the world? Is there a mix of gender identities, races, ages, religions, and education levels? Or is everyone a carbon copy of the original founders?

If you’re finding the latter is the case, you may want your hiring team to take an Implicit Association Test (IAT). These tests uncover underlying biases that may be preventing your crew from choosing candidates who are different.

For example, researchers from one study responded to job ads in Boston and Chicago with either a very African-American sounding name (such as Lakeisha or Jamal) or a very white-sounding name (such as Emily or Greg). Despite having identical resumes, they learned the white names received 50% more callbacks for interviews.

Biases like these may be outside of your team’s conscious awareness and control. Yet that doesn’t mean they should be ignored. 

Your employees don’t need to share the results of these tests, but they should understand what may be happening, and take steps to correct the issues. Educating yourself and having open (and likely uncomfortable) conversations on a regular basis will help with this.

#2. Make Equity a Priority At All Levels

“If diversity is about getting people in the room and inclusion is making sure they have a voice, equity is making sure they have the power; actual decision-making power.”
-Jezz Chung

A lack of diversity in mid- to upper management shows potential and current employees that there may not be room for advancement for BIPOC, women, LGBTQIA2S+, people with disabilities, etc.

Remove barriers in hiring practices by prioritizing equity, which is about ensuring opportunities for all (and not taking away opportunities from anyone). Employment equity ensures that jobs are allocated fairly and that otherwise qualified candidates are not denied jobs based on factors unrelated to their ability. 

As you assess your team for diversity, don't just look to add a broader range of people in your entry-level positions.  A diverse workplace includes a broad mix of employees from new hires all the way up to senior-level management. And by prioritizing equity, you're ensuring the power is equally distributed. Adding new perspectives to the table may be just what your business needs to get to the next level.
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#3. Update Your Corporate Culture and Company Policies

In our recent guide on how to implement inclusive workplace practices, we talked about updating your corporate culture, mission statement, and company policies to reflect your desire for a more inclusive team.

On top of that, it’s also a good idea to add in an anti-racist clause that clearly outlines how racism of any kind will not be tolerated.

Take this strong stance in supporting the Black and Indigenous communities, and other underserved populations; show that you have a zero-tolerance for racism of any kind.

Not only does this set the stage for current and future employees to show that this kind of behavior will not be tolerated it also creates a supportive environment where BIPOC know they can safely feel welcomed and that they have somewhere to turn to.

Make sure this policy is not only listed in your corporate handbook but that it’s also brought up in new employee onboarding as well as training existing team members.

You’ll also want these statements prominently displayed on your website and in your job descriptions so candidates feel encouraged to apply.

Consider this a dialogue between your brand and talent from different countries and backgrounds than yours. What would you want to hear if you were on the other end?

#4. Add Short Bios and Pictures of Your Team to Your Website

Yes, adding short bios and pictures of your team to your website helps you show off your inclusive workplace. But that’s not the main goal.

Allowing candidates to learn more about the people your company has hired will encourage them to also apply.

They’ll either see someone with a similar background and envision themselves also working there, or they’ll see a niche they can fill with their complementary yet unique package.

Now, if you’re actively working on becoming more inclusive, you can mention this on your website as well.

Leave placeholders on your About Us page saying you’re looking for the next team member no matter their race, nationality, age, gender, sexuality, or abilities.

These extra steps will encourage more people to feel as if they’ll belong and apply.

#5. Expand Your Job Candidate Network

If you’re only reaching out to your network contacts -- who may naturally look like you or have similar backgrounds to your existing team -- it will be challenging to build an inclusive remote environment.

A better approach is to source candidates from remote job boards

Here, you can open positions for telecommuters all over the world. And you won’t actually know who’s behind the screen until their application checks all your boxes and moves to the next round.

#6. Partner with Organizations Helping Underserved Communities

Start connecting with leaders in universities and organizations outside of your usual inner circle to network with skilled candidates in underserved communities. 

You’ll get in touch with great referrals who may never have applied to your company otherwise. And you’ll have a wealth of different experiences, perspectives, and backgrounds to add to your team.
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If you’re not hiring, you can still offer these organizations (as well as these or these) your support in time and other resources. You can help promote their causes and volunteer your skills to make your community a better place.

You can also partner with tech organizations that are actively supporting the black community -- coders to be specific -- by following that link.

#7. Rewrite the Job Descriptions in Your Job Ads

Though you may be committed to DEI, the wording in your job descriptions may say otherwise.

One study showed that male-gendered language in job descriptions, such as using words like “challenge,” “leader,” and “competitive,” dissuaded women from applying to roles they were perfectly qualified for.

An internal Hewlett Packard report revealed that men apply for a job when they meet just 60% of the qualifications listed, but women apply only if they meet 100% of them.

So be sure your job description explicitly shows that you value DEI with language welcoming all qualified applicants.

#8. Advertise Each Position’s Salary Range

Women, BIPOC, people with disabilities, etc. have historically lower salaries than white men. So when you base a new hire’s salary off their previous earnings, you’re penalizing them based on a system they have no control over.

That’s why you should create salary ranges for each job ad, and honor them based on specific criteria (such as expertise or experience), no matter who fills the position.

#9. Use Structured Interviews

Many hiring teams rely on shortcuts (He worked for Google!) and “gut instincts” to gauge candidates. These build on inherent biases, not potential job performance.

But when you plan out and structure your interviews, it’s easier to compare candidates and information on an even playing field.

Structured interviews give each candidate the same questions about their strengths, weaknesses, problem-solving skills, and past experiences. Then the interviewers use a clear set of criteria to evaluate all the responses.

The idea here is that variations in answers represent each candidate’s performance, not whether an interviewer pitched them easy or difficult questions.

Google uses structured interviewing, and they share resources so you can do the same.

#10. Send Out Candidate Experience Surveys

After each virtual or in-person interview, send a quick survey to your candidates to see how the process went. 

You’ll want to include quantitative questions (such as, How likely are you to apply for a position at our company in the future?) and qualitative response fields (like, Please describe the high and low points of your interview).

Read over these responses, and you may discover something turning away candidates, such as an inappropriate joke, question, or comment. 

You don’t want these mistakes repeated, and you’ll learn valuable research about your hiring process from the results.

Don’t Rush the Hiring Process; Get It Right

Hiring with inclusive intentions may take more time than you’re used to, and that’s ok. You’re not looking to satisfy arbitrary quotas -- you’re trying to find the best new addition to your awesome team. 

You may also need to change your company culture and outdated hiring policies that no longer make sense. This will all be worth your time and effort, but again, shouldn't be rushed.

As your company culture shifts to reflect greater inclusive workplace practices, you’ll help better your workforce and your community.

Then you’ll attract a diverse talent pool that’s excited to work with you and for you. 

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