Diversity FAQ’s No 11: Can Diversity positively impact the Recruitment Process?

It was with interest I read a recent report entitled Accessibility, Equality and Diversity on Recruitment Websites written by Anne Tynan.

Of the 300 recruitment websites surveyed, her findings suggested the following:

  • 54% of websites had no information on diversity or accessibility.
  • Only 21% offered both accessibility and diversity related information
  • Just 3% offered diversity related information within their application and recruitment procedures or FAQ’s.

Indeed, at a recruitment event I attended a couple of days ago, an MD of a recruitment business in response to the question I posed to him along the lines of “…so how do you use diversity to positively drive your recruitment business”, looked at me with a blank expression and replied: “What am I supposed to be doing??”. I looked at him with stunned disbelief and responded: “I won’t tell anybody here you said that”. But in all fairness to him, he truly did not know and really wanted to understand …

Recruitment is arguably the most important phase in ensuring an organisation initially attracts the best talent and as such plays an exclusive role in promoting talent and skills diversification – an ingredient in high demand in the 21st century workplace.

From the outset therefore, and apart from ensuring that the recruitment process is in conformity with relevant legislative requirements, a great deal of time should be spent looking at a number of what I call key strategic essentials to ensure that the process has the inherent capability of attracting a variety of candidates.  

Some of these strategic essentials are listed below:

  • If you are a recruitment or resourcing person, regardless of level, and are not diversity trained, you should not be recruiting. The diversity training required should be thorough (not a mere ‘tick-box’ exercise), should be linked to each individual stage of the recruitment process, and importantly, empower a creative approach to managing the process effectively
  • Be consultative in your approach to candidate specifications. Recruiting Managers are there to be influenced and look to you to provide the needed strategic steer. Don’t be afraid to challenge candidate specifications you deem as parochial, stereotypical and lacking the potency and flexibility for pushing the skills and talent ‘boundaries’
  • Extend your search range. In order to run a wide search with the capability of attracting a wide range of talent suited for the present global workplace, go out of your comfort zone. Use niche and specialist websites, build strategic, meaningful and long-lasting relationships with a  range of community networks and third party organisations in addition to your ‘standard’ traditional sourcing outlets. More often than not traditional search practices produce the same type of candidates with the same type of skills over and over again and stifles innovation in the long term
  • Ensure to ask the right questions: What are the reasons for the new role arising? Was an exit interview carried out? What is the current workforce breakdown of the organisation? Asking questions will provide the contextual approach needed for designing the sourcing strategy type to be employed
  • Benchmark the skills required and core selection criteria according to the skills lacking in the organisation, and not according to already existing skills. This will ensure the avoidance of talent duplication and guard against recruiting in the same image
  • When was the job description last reviewed? Is the language used on the job description inclusive? Are the essential criteria really essential for the role? Are they suggestive of particular skill sets akin to particular candidate types?
  • Use a range of tests that promote the candidate ability to perform to their best potential. Ensure assessment and selection tools demonstrate inclusivity and have zero to very minimal adverse impact.

The above points are only a sample of ways in which diversity can positively enhance the recruitment process.

Where these approaches are lacking, the culminating negative effects can be long term, and display themselves out in a variety of ways; from an inability to attract a range of talent, to negative organisational branding, workforce under-representation at a variety of levels, lower creativity and innovation and reduced competitive advantage, etc – indices which a review on gender inclusivity in the FTSE 100 by Lord Davies will be seeking to address in his report to the Coalition tomorrow.

Comments on quotas for gender inclusivity in the FTSE 100 to follow…

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