Creating a positive and inclusive candidate experience has become more essential than ever. Despite the ongoing efforts to refine and revamp recruitment processes, it’s evident that many organizations still fall short. This shortfall is particularly glaring when viewed through the lens of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI).
A truly inclusive candidate experience fosters an environment where everyone, regardless of their backgrounds, feels valued and encouraged throughout the hiring process. This is not an easy task, but with 76% of job seekers valuing diversity and inclusion in their potential workplaces, it’s one that must be undertaken with utmost seriousness.
To help you along this journey, we’ve compiled seven strategies to construct an engaging, inclusive, and ultimately positive candidate experience.
1. Change from Elimination to Selection
Traditional interviews often possess an inherent flaw: they are designed to detect negatives rather than highlight positives. This approach can discourage candidates who do not conform to conventional standards or norms. To address this, recruiters should concentrate on identifying skills and attributes, rather than focusing on aspects like years of experience or the college a candidate attended.
Creating an inclusive hiring process means providing every candidate an equal opportunity to demonstrate their potential success in a role. To do this, interviewers should design their questions to emphasize candidates’ skills and abilities to learn, rather than trying to catch them out. This method gives everyone an equal chance, thereby ensuring a more inclusive hiring process.
2. Equip Candidates for Success
Often, traditional recruitment frameworks are littered with unintentional obstacles that can hinder a diverse range of candidates. Recognizing these barriers is crucial for creating a more inclusive experience. Ensure you provide necessary accommodations and support throughout the hiring process. This could be in the form of assistive technology for assessments, flexible interview timings, or ensuring that your recruitment software is easy to use and accessible.
3. Nurture Psychological Safety
An inclusive candidate experience is anchored in creating an atmosphere of psychological safety. Respectful, relevant, and consistent communication is the backbone of such an environment. Ensure that your candidates know exactly what to expect from the hiring process and continually offer any necessary accommodations to make the process equitable. Respect every candidate’s time and ensure that the interview panel is well-informed and sensitive towards bias, inclusivity, and diversity.
4. Make Interviewer Training Mandatory
Interviewer training plays a pivotal role in curating an inclusive candidate experience. Interviews should never be haphazard events navigated on the fly. Instead, they should be well-structured and informed by a thorough understanding of potential biases and how to mitigate them. By ensuring all interviewers are trained and well-versed in conducting interviews, organizations can foster an atmosphere of respect and inclusivity.
5. Showcase Your DEI Initiatives
Candidate experience shapes future employees’ perception of the organization. It’s an ideal opportunity to showcase your commitment to DEI principles. Whether it’s through establishing Employee Resource Groups (ERGs), implementing policies to bridge the gender pay gap, or offering learning and development opportunities, ensure that candidates are aware of your organization’s inclusive initiatives.
6. Seek Feedback from Candidates
Candidate feedback is invaluable for improving the inclusivity of your recruitment process. Encourage both successful and unsuccessful candidates to share their experience. Their insights can help identify areas of improvement and refine the hiring process to be more inclusive.
7. Don’t Neglect Onboarding
The candidate experience does not end with the signing of the employment contract. The onboarding process plays a vital role in cultivating a sense of inclusivity. An effective onboarding program is one that caters to all new recruits. Make sure to provide new hires with comprehensive information about company policies, common acronyms, and support to help them settle into their roles smoothly.
Creating an inclusive candidate experience requires an organization to prioritize candidates’ needs and provide them with an environment where they can succeed. By implementing these strategies, organizations can attract a more diverse pool of talent, promote equality in the recruitment process, and build a stronger, more innovative workforce as a result.