Inclusive Recruiting & Hiring
Techniques for Inclusive Recruiting and Hiring
Submitted by Sandy Cross
Often, when recruiting to fill an open position, companies consider the “culture fit” of a candidate. We often ask ourselves “Will they fit in here? Do they do things our way?” Shifting our recruiting and hiring practices to become more inclusive requires a shift in mindset, from “culture fit” to “culture add.” In other words, we should start asking ourselves “What does this candidate bring that is new? Will they help us question and improve the way we run things? Will they bring unexpected insights that we never would have considered before?”
This shift, though seemingly subtle, is at the heart of effective diversity and inclusion recruiting. After all, a more diverse workplace is one that adds a lot. Diverse teams have been proven to perform better, are less likely to fall prey to group think, and have even been shown to positively impact a company’s bottom line.
The research on diversity and inclusion in the workplace has come a long way in recent years, and there are many new tools for improvement. Of particular note is the development of techniques to overcome unconscious bias. Unconscious bias, also called implicit bias, are patterns of thought that shape the way we view and interact with the world, usually without our realizing it. We are culturally conditioned to view certain types of people more positively than others. This conditioning affects the workplace as well, including recruiting, hiring and promotion patterns.
While unconscious bias is notoriously difficult to uproot [but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try], what’s called the “design approach” uses different practical techniques to diminish its effects. You may be familiar with the orchestra case, where a simple curtain was used to hide the individual auditioning from view of the selection committee. This allowed the selection committee to focus on the talent of the musician above all else. It is a simple example of an approach that can take many forms during the recruiting and hiring process.
We’ve outlined below six introductory or thought-starter techniques that can be adapted for more inclusive recruiting and hiring in PGA Section offices.
1. Standardized Hiring Scorecards
Creating structured, measurable candidate scorecards, which focus on assessing each candidate’s ability to perform the job, is highly useful. They reduce the reliance on “gut feeling” and memory, both of which are prime areas for unconscious bias to sneak in. This quantitative tool also allows for a fairer candidate comparison across all interviewers. Attachment: Sample Standardized Hiring Scorecard.
2. Equitable Candidate Sourcing
While it is common practice to rely heavily on referrals to source candidates, this tends to perpetuate homogenous candidate pools. Alternative outreach strategies can help you widen your reach.
3. Intentionally Inclusive Job Ads
Research shows that job ad content greatly impacts who finds the job appealing. Avoiding non-inclusive language and carefully framing job requirements can attract a wider variety of applicants.
4. Non-interview Applicant Challenges
Interviews are a useful tool, but they also favor those who can relate personally to the interviewers, those who are quick to speak, and those with certain personality traits. To “outsmart” those potential biases, non-interview challenges can supplement interviews, providing an alternative way for candidates to demonstrate their skills.
5. Blinding Applicant Demographic Data
Research shows that demographic indicators on application materials can trigger unconscious bias. To navigate around this bias, some demographic indicators can be “blinded,” or hidden from the eyes of recruiters.
6. Inclusive Interview Design
There are countless ways interviews can be conducted. Luckily, quite a few techniques have been developed to create a more equitable process, both during the interviews, as well as during post-interview candidate comparisons.
Conclusion: Understanding the Risks and Rewards
Diversity and inclusion work can be complex. It requires careful intention, patience and introspection. When applied hastily, or in isolation without internal D&I consideration, they can fall short or even backfire. To avoid these pitfalls, we recommend that you approach these techniques with a curious and learning-oriented mindset, and enact them hand-in-hand with steps to create an inclusive and welcoming environment for all.
Mistakes are normal, and there is no “one-size-fits-all” approach. If you’re not sure how to apply certain techniques, there is a great deal of high-quality literature on the topic. You can also reach out to Sandy Cross for guidance: (firstname.lastname@example.org, 561-624-8477)
When applied well, design-focused diversity and inclusion techniques can have an incredible impact. Learning about, and applying, these techniques is a life-long journey, so buckle in for the ride! PGA is excited about this next step in our journey, and we’re glad you’re here with us.