Guide #009: How hiring managers can create a more inclusive recruitment process

Keep a pulse on the industry and communities relevant to the role. Establish a strong partnership with HR/Recruiting and create a consistent candidate experience.

Always be recruiting (or at least networking)

Keep a pulse on your industry and communities relevant to the role you're trying to fill. Use Twitter, blogs, newsletters and other platforms to track trending topics, active conversations, and key voices. Attend or participate in conferences and industry events, and share thought-leadership. Recognize when you’re in an echo chamber. Seek out new communities across geographies, disciplines, industry associations, ethnicities, gender, disabilities, etc. to find opportunities where you’re the only person with your background present.

Understand the needs of the new role

Start by getting a firm grasp on the business needs the role is being created for. If the role is dedicated to a specific project, write down what constitutes success for the role on that project. Document the skillsets you're looking for based on what you’re hearing from stakeholders. Align this with career frameworks and areas that would expand the skills of the group.

Build a strong relationship with your HR/recruiters

Brief HR on the role, team, and projects the candidate will be working on. Encourage a broad range of recruitment channels. Point HR/Recruiting to the communities you’re aware of from being active in your industry. Outline any specific processes you’d like to incorporate. For example, if you want to introduce “blind hiring” into the recruiting process, you’ll need to work with HR to facilitate this change.

Craft balanced job descriptions

Analyze your job descriptions for gender bias. Use software tools (like Textio or similar language analysis tools) that can help with this. Recognize that women are less likely to apply for a role if they don’t meet all the requirements. Consider including language that encourages prospects to apply even if they don’t meet 100% of the requirements. Ask HR to include diversity language in the job description.

Set expectations and coach your interview panel

Establish an interview panel with the goal of keeping the team small — 3 to 5 if possible. Ensure cross-functional representation. Brief your panel on the role being filled, the skills you're looking for and the projects or teams the candidate will be working on. Coach the panel on the process they should follow to ensure equity in candidate assessment. Identify what each interviewer will be focused on. Provide specific questions or ask them to share their baseline set of questions with you before the interview process starts. Coach your panel on how to ask good questions and what questions they should not ask during an interview.

Create a consistent candidate experience

Ask each candidate the same set of questions so that you can more fairly and logically compare candidates with each other. This includes questions in the phone screen as well as the in-person interview. Depending on the candidate’s response, the conversation will go in different directions, but plan to start with a standard baseline set of questions. Additionally, try to have the same people interview all candidates. Understandably this isn’t always possible, but it’s worth striving for.

Gather quality feedback to make a decision

Create a post-interview assessment survey and ask each panelist to independently fill it out as soon as possible after meeting with each candidate. Minimize back-channel discussion to reduce skewed feedback. Set aside time to discuss each candidate with the full interview panel.

Keep the conversation alive

Promptly update all candidates on the next steps — whether that be an advance to the next stage in the process or a halt on any further conversations. Assuming you’ve found someone you want to extend an offer to, let them know the team is excited to work with them and hope they accept an offer. Let the candidate know how the offer/compensation negotiation process works at your company. Make sure to keep checking in with the candidate to ensure the HR process is going smoothly and to give a heads-up on what to expect for the onboarding process.

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