Making Recruitment More Inclusive

Dr. Ryan Giffen

Making Recruitment More Inclusive

How many companies have efficient DI&E policies in place that make a long-lasting difference across all levels? – That mostly depends on the size of an organization.

For instance, 60 percent of businesses with under 50 employees have no diversity initiatives at all. On the other side, 55 percent of companies with between 5000 and 10,000 hires have structured DI&I practices. Yet, the positive change can only be enduring when all organizations, regardless of their size, have effective inclusive programs. But at the moment, 41 percent of managers state they’re too busy to implement any diversity and inclusion initiatives. As long as that’s the case, preferential treatment, bias, and segregation will hinder inclusive recruitment, workplaces, and impartiality. There shouldn’t be any pretexts for why a company is failing to drive inclusion. DI&E initiatives integration is challenging, but it’s essential as it ensures everyone gets an equal chance. The path towards fostering unbiased recruitment and diverse values starts with assessing how inclusive your workplace is.

Evaluating Inclusion Levels

Inclusion is essential for fair recruitment and thriving diversity. Without it, these policies likely won’t succeed as they wouldn’t be deeply seated in a company’s ethos. Even though many business leaders and HR professionals believe inclusion and diversity are interchangeable terms, these two have substantial differences. If you don’t recognize how they differ, you’re risking perfunctory strategies that might address compliance without making a genuine change.

The difference between diversity and inclusion

Both are crucial for driving equity, but diversity is the what while inclusion is how. The first one is about who makes your workforce, better known as the makeup of your workplace. The latter stands for a work environment that allows equal participation and success of all employees. Hence, inclusion enables the efficiency of diversity initiatives because it’s ingrained in the company culture. Thanks to that, inclusive businesses nurture a tolerant workforce that understands the essence of heterogeneous teams, providing a fertile ground for DI&E policies. Even though inclusion is invisible, it’s possible to measure it. Here are the tips on how to identify whether your workplace is inclusive.

Employee surveys and questionnaires

The best way to get insights into work environment-related matters is to turn to your hires. Develop thorough surveys and share them with the staff, informing them that’s the first step towards making your company more inclusive. But ensure you don’t make these questionnaires too broad, or you won’t get specific answers. Instead, focus on a particular issue. For instance, center the questions around healthcare to identify whether some of your employees encountered incidents of exclusion. Be straightforward and help the staff recall situations when they felt like an outsider, unwelcome, or ignored. Discover if someone (e.g., a coworker or manager) refused to help them or there weren’t any policies that apply to their situation. Be attentive to the answers of minority groups in particular. It could be that an employee encounters difficulties every day to enter the building or use the restroom because the workplace fails to accommodate hires that use a wheelchair. However, you can also aim to identify how open-minded your staff is concerning diverse coworkers. To achieve that, you can analyze whether micro-aggression is present in your office. That can uncover whether your employees are unconsciously using language that others might perceive as hostile or offensive.

Representation across hierarchy and departments

Analyze whether diverse employees are equally present in the managerial roles and C-suit. Plus, evaluate the representation of job applicants from minority groups among shortlisted candidates during the recruitment process. Moreover, identify whether everyone has access to healthcare, insurance, and office commodities that align with one’s needs. Dive into the wage gaps. Check if diverse employees in a particular job role and position work the same number of hours and receive the same salaries as their non-diverse counterparts. Finally, evaluate whether everyone gets the same professional development opportunities and odds at promotion. Besides running a technical check, you can again share a survey with employees to identify whether they agree with your findings. After identifying the level of inclusion in your company, you can use this information to proceed to the next level. Recruitment is where you can establish inclusiveness from the root by ensuring each candidate gets equal treatment and chance.

5 Efficient Ways to Nurture Inclusive Recruitment

Inclusion starts with a fair recruitment process that fosters meritocracy instead of racial, gender, or age preferences. During this stage, recruiters enable the representation and diverse workplaces where everyone feels welcome and acknowledged. Inclusive recruitment means that HR professionals understand the value of diverse backgrounds, viewpoints, and social identities. During a process that respects these qualities, recruiters connect with, conduct interviews, and recruit qualified candidates from minority groups. These professionals typically come from work environments where a company culture disables preferential treatment, bias, and prejudices. However, they often go through diversity training that encourages an inclusive mindset. If you want your company to implement DI&E values, various strategies can help you achieve that. Here are the top five ways to foster inclusive recruitment.

1. Inclusive job ads

Even though many HR professionals overlook the importance of job descriptions, they can deter particular groups of people from applying for an available vacancy. That usually happens because the ad doesn’t speak to them due to having an exclusive language. Job seekers often turn away from job openings because they don’t feel they can identify with the description. Recruiters tend to use gendered language, in IT and programming in particular. For instance, if a job ad includes masculine words such as superhero, guru, or rockstar, it might discourage diverse groups from applying. It’s why it’s crucial to convey the right message and be as straightforward as possible. HR professionals often want to make their job titles sound more exciting or attractive to job seekers, but they could cause a counter effect. Because of that, it’s recommendable to stick with a neutral vocabulary and job titles that everyone can identify with and understand. Define the job role and your ideal candidate to ensure they can recognize themselves in your vacancy description. Also, consider using software that helps you identify subtle bias in your job ads to prevent miscommunication.

2. Make the candidate search wider

Recruiters often struggle to understand why they keep receiving job applications from candidates with similar backgrounds and social identities. Perhaps the problem lies in the search being too narrow. First, ensure that your employer brand and company culture manifest diverse values. If job seekers perceive your workplaces as overly homogenous, they will believe they don’t stand a chance. For example, include a statement on your social media and career site that your company is committed to fostering diversity and inclusion. Share with the audience what are strategies you have in place to ensure representation and equity. Make your candidate search wider by auditing your job ads to gear them toward diverse job applicants. Identify offline and online spots where different demographics like to spend time, such as forums or seminars. That way, you can improve the outreach of your talent attraction and help people from different backgrounds find your job ad. But you can also ask your diverse employees for referrals or post your vacancy on job boards for diverse hiring.

3. Inclusive application process

Examine how streamlined and inclusive your job application process is. Think about whether it’s easy to use and if it speaks to a diverse range of job seekers. All functions and guidelines should include a language that doesn’t discourage anyone from proceeding with the application. Use friendly language that doesn’t confuse anyone nor sound punitive. Moreover, don’t forget to include your commitment to fostering DI&E policies and ensuring everyone understands they have an equal chance as any other candidate.

4. Unbiased candidate selection and shortlisting

When selecting the most compatible candidates, focus on their qualifications, motivation, skills, and experience. Remove social constructs that enforce favoritism by removing names and unnecessary social identity indicators from resumes. Moreover, consider using an AI software or resume parser to avoid unconscious bias. These tech solutions help you focus solely on the job qualifications instead of on candidate backgrounds.

5. Collaborative recruiting process

Besides using supportive tools to foster an objective judgment, include diverse colleagues in the selection process. If only one person is involved in the final decision, they might not notice their unconscious bias. However, if the recruitment consists of various opinions, you will encompass different perspectives and get valuable feedback. Thus, a diverse team in charge of recruitment represents a collaborative hiring process. That helps you recruit a qualified candidate who doesn’t fall into any particular category.


In conclusion, an increasing number of employers recognize the benefits of DI&E policies, but it’s necessary to stop making its advantages the focal point of diversity discourse. Otherwise, the world of work could find itself stuck in shallow initiatives without stable ground. Because of that, it’s essential to reinforce awareness, understanding, and impartiality. Companies can foster these values by establishing inclusive recruitment that creates a fair work environment that speaks to and welcomes everyone.

About Dr. Ryan Giffen

With over 20 years of experience, Dr. Ryan Giffen is an expert in human relations and business culture. His career began in hospitality, leading operations and human resource departments for Fortune 500 companies and the like. Not long after, Ryan found his passion for teaching and consulting. He earned a Ph.D. in Hospitality Management with a Human Resources focus from Iowa State University and now works as an assistant professor at California State University, Long Beach. For over a decade, he continues to research and speak on organizational culture, relationship intelligence, and leadership effectiveness. Ryan is also the founder of Inospire, a company helping bosses and employees build stronger relationships with one another.  Lastly, Dr. Giffen is producer and host of the Corporate Shadow Podcast. a show helping everyday employees overcome workplace nonsense.