Tips to remove bias and improve diversity hiring processes

Saffron Wildbore

~ 3min read

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~ 3min read

The diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) agenda has rightly escalated to the top of many businesses’ agendas in recent years. Spurred by increasing awareness of disparities in the employment landscape, we’ve seen calls to action for employers to ‘do better’ by taking meaningful action to overcome diversity challenges.

While most employers understand the importance of inclusion and the benefits that having a diverse workforce brings, in practice, it can be difficult for businesses to know where to start.

Here, we’ve explained five different diversity hiring best practices to help you navigate the jargon and encourage diversity throughout the hiring process.

1) Setting diversity targets

Truly understanding your workforce’s challenges is the first step to making a meaningful change.

Conducting anonymous staff surveys enables your organisation to collect data about company culture, diversity and inclusion within the workforce. Employers can then analyse this intel and identify areas for improvement, such as evidence of limited representation of women in leadership positions or employees from low socio-economic backgrounds.

Equipped with this information, organisations can scope SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-Bound) diversity targets to put in place. For example, this could mean aiming to increase the proportion of entry-level talent recruited from lower socio-economic backgrounds by 20% in the next 12 months.

By repeating these surveys at regular intervals, your organisation can benchmark diversity, equity, and inclusion statistics against previous performance and industry averages to evaluate progress continually. It's encouraging to see some sectors already moving in the right direction in this respect.

For example, our Diversity in Tech 2023 report highlighted that businesses are making positive strides towards overcoming the historical lack of diversity within the tech workforce. The data suggested that more than half (52%) set diversity targets – an increase from 46% the previous year.

2) Publishing neutral job descriptions

Writing an unbiased advertisement is critical for encouraging job seekers from a range of backgrounds to apply for a job.

Hiring managers should eliminate any preconceived ideas about what a candidate may ‘look’ like, ensuring that job descriptions don’t unintentionally favour those with a particular identity.

Use gender-neutral language in job descriptions, avoiding stereotypically gendered terms. Focus on listing the specific skills, experience, and qualifications which are genuinely essential to do the job. Writing inclusive advertisements in this way avoids discouraging certain individuals or groups from applying for a role.

3) Conducting blind CV/resume reviews

Blind resumes involve removing any personal information and potential indicators of the candidate’s identity and eliminating unnecessary information which could unintentionally impact a recruiter’s perceptions.

Remove references to factors such as gender, age, or ethnicity and focus entirely on the attributes which inform the potential candidate’s proficiency for the role.

4) Providing anti-bias training for interviewers

Most interviewers have good intentions and genuinely want to make a positive impact on workforce diversity. But sadly, bias in the interview process can still occur unconsciously.

Invest in anti-bias training for interviewers to help them recognize when they may be at risk of unintentionally enforcing bias. External training can equip individuals with the tools to disregard irrelevant factors and judge candidates solely on attributes which truly determine their ability to deliver while in their role.

5) Prioritising diverse shortlists

Shortlisting candidates from a diverse range of backgrounds for the final stages is the last step in promoting inclusive hiring.

Provide candidates from a range of ethnic and socioeconomic backgrounds and individuals with different ages, abilities, and sexual orientations with equal opportunities to demonstrate their competency for the position.

This is particularly important for sectors struggling with historical diversity challenges; concerningly, our Diversity in Tech 2023 report suggested that just 25% of businesses prioritise diverse shortlists. This was down from 37% the previous year, suggesting that this should be a priority area for tech employers going forward.

> How mthree can help

mthree supports employers to diversify talent pipelines and address their unique workforce challenges through a 'Hire Train Deploy' model. We train Alumni in the latest skills that businesses need, so entry-level talent is ready to hit the ground running from day one in post at one of our client organisations. Our Alumni population of emerging talent are 42% female and 51% ethnic minorities.

For more practical advice on how to build the workforce of the future, check out our resources hub which covers topics like inclusive hiring and the Hire Train Deploy model.

Saffron Wildbore is a Senior Marketing Executive at mthree. She has worked in marketing, specialising in creating content for over 4 years. Saffron focuses on writing tips for graduates, Alumni interviews and more!


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