5 Ways to Be More Inclusive When Hiring

Each week, we share five simple actions to create a more inclusive workplace and be a better ally.

This post includes tips from Karen Catlin’s latest book, “The Better Allies™ Approach to Hiring.” Want more suggestions for increasing the diversity of your workforce by being inclusive during the hiring process? Head over to Amazon to get your copy.

1. Use diverse, welcoming images on your careers page

Look at the photos on your company’s careers page or job site. Do the photos show employees of all kinds thriving within the company? Or are they full of young white dudes having a good time?

Put yourself in the shoes of an applicant from an underrepresented group. Imagine how a woman, a person of color, an older worker, a person with a disability, or a single parent would feel seeing the images on your careers page. Would they see people who look nothing like them, engaging in activities that broadcast an uninviting culture? Or would they see people from a variety of backgrounds in settings that showcase their enjoyment at work and value to the company?

Candidates need to be able to envision themselves working somewhere, and seeing their own experience reflected through photos is a crucial way to do that.

2. Use photos of actual employees, not stock photography

If you don’t have a diverse workforce, it may be tempting to use stock photos of people from underrepresented groups. Do not do this. Candidates can easily do an image search online and find that your “employee” is a model who appears on many job sites. (Yes, this happens. In doing research for “The Better Allies™ Approach to Hiring,” Karen quickly spotted a stock photo of a Black male model featured as though he were an employee on a Fortune 500 company’s careers page.)

Instead, emphasize how welcoming and inclusive you are through text, not photos.

3. Be transparent about your interview process

As software company Automattic found when they surveyed job applicants:

“It’s important for women job searchers to know what the hiring process looks like when they are applying because of non-work-related commitments many have.”

I bet their finding applies to other genders, too.

As a result of this research, Automattic created a page that clearly outlines its hiring process for software developers.

Procter & Gamble is also transparent about their process, outlining what happens during the application, assessment, interview, and offer steps. They also take the opportunity to acknowledge some candidates may need accommodations due to disabilities and how to go about requesting them.

Now, take a look at your careers page. Does it describe the hiring process and what people can expect at each step? Do you even have a consistent process that treats all candidates equitably? If not, you’ve got work to do.

4. Simplify job descriptions

Think about the last job description you wrote. Did you copy a similar job post and then add new skills and experience needed for the role? Maybe you deleted a requirement or two, but overall, that job description may have become unnecessarily long. Bloated even.

Here’s why bloated job descriptions are a problem. Candidates, especially women, are likely to avoid applying for a job if they don’t believe they meet all the requirements listed. This means that superfluous bullet points may cause great candidates to weed themselves out.

For each requirement in your job postings, ask yourself: If an otherwise perfect candidate came along without this experience, would we still hire them? If so, cut it.

5. For managerial positions, seek experience with diverse teams

If you’re hiring a manager or a team lead, do you want to attract candidates who care about diversity, some of whom may be from underrepresented groups themselves? Consider including “experience hiring and leading diverse teams” as a requirement. Send a clear message that this experience is both relevant and desired.

Being an ally is a journey. Want to join us?

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Together, we can — and will — make a difference with the Better Allies™ approach.

Everyday actions to create inclusive, engaging workplaces. Together, we can — and will — make a difference with the Better Allies® approach.

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