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February 5th, 2020

More and more workplaces are beginning to look at how they can better improve their diversity and culture. Unfortunately, most businesses are still fighting an uphill battle to become more inclusive and diverse. A lot of this comes down to recruitment practices, and more recruiters are beginning to search for ways to implement more inclusive recruiting.


But what is inclusive recruitment exactly? Well, it’s not much more than just the process of engaging with, interviewing and hiring individuals equally across a diverse range of backgrounds. Inclusive recruiting is broad, covering things like gender, race, age, class, upbringing, religion, and more.


Inclusive recruiting is an attempt to understand how current recruitment and unconscious bias can get in the way of valuing people from all walks of life and how they might benefit your business. As a Leeds-based recruitment agency, our job here at Futures is to help businesses keep up to speed with their recruitment needs, and we’ve seen more and more lean towards including more inclusive recruitment techniques in their search. But why is inclusive recruitment important?


There’s a lot that points to having a diverse workforce actually improving a business’ chance to succeed and grow both nationally and internationally. Inclusive recruitment boosts diversity which, in turn, can lead to larger recruitment pools, a broader range of skills in your workforce, and more language and cultural awareness within your business.



With these perks, it’s easy to understand why a lot of businesses are searching for ways to recruit more inclusively. However, it’s not always easy and there are a lot of hurdles to overcome. With that in mind, here are 10 great ways of integrating diversity and inclusion into your recruitment strategy!


1. Improve job ad inclusivity


Where do you start when trying to create a more inclusive recruitment process? Well, we think that starting at the job advertisement itself is a great first step. Making sure that you have a thorough job description that clearly defines what the job is and the skills it requires without any unconscious bias is a great first interaction with a potential candidate.


Think about how easily someone from outside your organisation will understand what the job entails. It’s a fact that every large business or organisation ends up developing its own set of language and jargon. It’s certainly worth considering how welcoming your business is through its job adverts for more diverse candidates. It might even be worth having a neutral person assess the language of your job adverts.


This is one of the reasons that it’s a great idea to audit your old recruitment ads. By evaluating what you might do better, you can implement changes that fit in with a broader diversity strategy. You might see that the language being used appeals specifically to certain demographics, allowing you to adapt to more inclusive language in your job ads in the future.


Always be careful not to include language that immediately alienates certain groups of people. A good, simple, and very common example of this is how often we see job adverts that contain excessive, confusing business jargon. This can be incredibly off-putting for younger, more inexperienced and less privileged people. Be careful around gendered words as well, and consider alternating for a healthy mix between male and female pronouns in your job descriptions.


2. Find tools that help you to connect with diverse talent


The problem with unconscious bias is, of course, that it’s unconscious. This can make it incredibly difficult to fully eliminate, leaving us to wonder how our subconscious is subtly changing our biases towards certain people and things. With that in mind, finding the right supportive tools such as AI recruitment tools can help you to reduce the human bias in your recruitment process.


AI recruitment tools can look at your candidates completely objectively, filtering out only the exact candidates who have the skills and experience needed for your role, regardless of their background. The best part is that you can control and program a lot of the AI recruitment tools out there to specifically deliver the kind of impartial shortlist of diverse candidates you’re looking for.


It’s worth being careful when searching for a new tool, as they are not all free from bias. Some AI tools have been found to show bias in the past and human error can still affect the way a tool functions. This is one of the reasons that it’s important to implement a new AI recruitment tool with diversity and inclusion training.


3. Counter unconscious bias


As mentioned when talking about using AI recruitment tools, part of the problem is that a lot of people unknowingly suffer from unconscious bias. This can have an impact on the way we feel about other people and things and can affect our decision-making in certain situations. This is all unconscious, of course, and is often completely against peoples’ best intentions.


However, more and more people are becoming aware of unconscious bias and the various ways in which you can counter it. Unfortunately, these tactics are still not commonly used. This is why it’s a great idea to get on board and enthusiastically embrace the simple strategies that can mitigate the impact that unconscious bias has on our decision-making.


Things such as assessing CVs blind by removing the name, gender and age, and by ensuring that various stakeholders participate in selecting candidates are simple tools that can help fight against unconscious racism, ageism, and sexism. It’s in our nature as humans to be somewhat biased, but that’s why it’s important to commit to overcoming that tendency through training programmes for your staff.


4. Make sure that you have an inclusive interview process


Hiring managers and recruiters all know just how easily an interview can make or break the recruitment process. It’s a huge part of the selection process, and it’s an opportunity for both the candidate and the employer to impress the other. It’s crucial that you’re able to have a completely unbiased, inclusive and equal interview process, but this isn’t always as easy as it sounds.


A structured and rigorous process is always recommended. One of the ways in which you can implement this is to use psychometric testing. Do this by asking every candidate the exact same questions and scoring them on their skills and experience. This can help to mitigate the effect of unconscious bias in the interview process.


You can also do a lot to set the right tone. Having as diverse a panel of interviewers as possible will make diverse candidates more comfortable as well as demonstrating that your business is inclusive and welcoming. Keeping the tone friendly rather than tense and aggressive will do a lot to attract diverse candidates.


You could also consider doing ‘blind’ interviews. This entails using the ‘blind CV’ strategy for early conversations with clients. You can email questions for candidates to answer anonymously, which gives you a chance to start the interview process of completely free of bias.


5. Consider applying some diversity targets


If you’re here and you are searching for ways to make your recruitment process more inclusive and appealing to diverse candidates, then the chances are that you have assessed your own organisation and found it to be lacking in diversity. If that’s the case, then you might want to consider setting some actual diversity targets for your business to try and meet.


Diversity targets can help to improve diversity management, motivating affirmative action to make recruitment strategies more inclusive. Critics and naysayers complain that this can result in candidates being recruited simply because they are diverse candidates from underrepresented demographics. However, there’s a lot to suggest that, if anything, the opposite is true.


It’s important that your human resources department, hiring managers, and recruiters all support and embrace the strategy of better diversity and inclusion in your recruitment strategies. If you have set diversity targets and a workforce who embrace your people strategy, then you can’t help but begin improving diversity in your business.


6. Challenge your own culture


A common part of the application and interview process is often finding candidates who fit your business culture. Culture is important to the DNA and identity of an organisation, so it makes sense that employers would seek employees who fit that. However, it’s worth considering how candidates who challenge that culture could create a more diverse and inclusive workspace in the long term.


Instead, seek candidates who will add to your culture rather than fit it. Has someone got great qualities that can add to your business, but you think that their personality or attitude doesn’t quite fit your current culture? Well, that’s great! Maybe they can bring something new and fresh and mix things up a bit. It’s good to be always looking for candidates who can give your company something new and different.


7. Offer flexible and remote working opportunities where possible


A huge majority of UK employees support the idea of flexible work – even preferring it over a pay rise in some cases. Having flexible working policies in place is a fantastic way for an employer to attract candidates who struggle with the typical 9-5 working week. Opening your business up to these candidates increases your diversity.


For example, parents and carers, people with mental health struggles or physical disabilities, young people may all struggle with committing and maintaining a 9-5 working schedule. In particular, women with children can find themselves discouraged by these working hours. You can also consider changing your holidays to include more religious and community events!


8. Widen your candidate search


Some employers complain that they can recruit more inclusively, because they only receive applications from people with similar backgrounds. If you find your candidate pool to be consisting of people with similar educations, ethnicities and experience levels, you may need to conduct a more broad and thorough search.


A great way to extend your candidate search is to simply post your openings on more diverse job boards and social media pages. Look for more diverse places to advertise and extend your reach. You can also connect with more and different schools and universities when looking for graduate candidates. Try to make an effort to switch things up from how you’ve done them in the past – you might attract more diverse candidates who wouldn’t otherwise have thought to apply.


9. Develop your company brand to reflect your diversity


If you’re trying to attract a more diverse pool of candidates, then one of the best things you can do is to simply create a company brand that reflects this. An employer brand that shows inclusiveness and welcomes people from all walks of life will, by its very nature, attract people from all walks of life. Make sure that potential candidates know how diverse you are and how important that aspect of your business is.


To create a truly diverse business, it needs to be run by a diverse group of people. If your leaders and spokespeople are diverse themselves, this will have a huge effect on your brand and public sentiment towards your inclusiveness.


10. Educate the people in your business


There are a range of different biases that recruiters might experience when hiring a new candidate. While we’ve spoken about the different ways you might want to counter unconscious bias through various different strategies, such as ‘blind’ interviews and CV processing, using AI recruitment tools, and attempting to separate bias from the recruitment process, the fact remains that it is still there.


One of the best things you can do is to simply educate and train your team. Bias can run much deeper than just gender, race and religion, so helping your team to recognise their biases can be incredibly powerful. Proper education and bias training can improve employee engagement and improving diversity.


Get In Touch


Interested in finding out more about how to create a diverse and inclusive workplace environment? Get in touch with us here at Futures today to discover how we can help to match you and your business with the perfect candidates!

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