Inclusive Interviewing

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Inclusive Interviewing

Hiring can be a complex process if you are doing everything correctly and with consideration about the people involved in the process. One of the main considerations human resources departments need to make when hiring in 2023 and beyond is the utilization of inclusive interviewing. First of all, what is inclusive interviewing? 

Inclusive interviewing is an approach to recruitment that seeks to ensure all potential candidates have an equal opportunity to succeed. The selection process is tailored to make sure that people from any background, ethnicity, gender identity, or age are considered for the position. This means creating a welcoming atmosphere in interviews where everyone is given a fair chance and there are no automatic assumptions based on appearance or prior experience. It is also important to ask relevant questions that will assess a candidate’s ability to perform the job, rather than their personal background. Inclusive interviewing can be used in any industry and is becoming increasingly popular in order to create more diverse teams and workplaces. Ultimately, it seeks to give everyone a fair opportunity to prove their worth and earn the role, without bias. This can be helped by ensuring that your hiring team is trained on implicit bias and fair and balanced interviewing techniques. This is also a good time to determine whether you have selected diverse interview panels to review and assess candidates. 

Other steps that companies can take to ensure an inclusive recruitment process include providing clear job postings, using gender-neutral language, diversifying selection panels, and offering flexible interview times and locations for candidates who may face certain challenges in attending the interviews. This approach not only helps create a more equitable and diverse workplace but also increases the chances for employers to find the best talent for their team.

Hiring teams can implement interviewing techniques to make the interview process flow more smoothly. Some of these techniques may include:

- Writing inclusive job descriptions that appeal to a wide range of qualified candidates and do not exclude. 
- Writing inclusive interview questions. Your questions should be focused on the position and the skills required to fill the role. Avoid any language that is biased or references age, gender, culture, ethnicity, sexual orientation, etc. 
- Standardizing the interview process across candidates by ensuring that the questions are all the same and are asked in the same order. This helps your hiring team to see how each candidate stacks up against the others. 
- Utilizing a scoring system for the question and answer portions of your interview. If you are using interview intelligence software like the platform offered by Pillar, this scoring system is baked in to your interview process. 
- Training and educating interviewers about inclusive interviewing skills and eliminating bias in the hiring process. 
- Avoiding the trap of hiring someone based on positive first impressions instead of their skills and qualifications. 
- Using positive nonverbal cues in the interview process to encourage candidates rather than intimidate. 

Keep reading to learn more about the ways that you can utilize inclusive interviewing into your workplace as a means of finding the best candidate for the job. 

Equitable Interview Process

In 2023, equitable interview processes should be the standard. This means that interviewers are tasked with inclusivity and equitability practices from the earliest stages of the hiring process. This extends to creating inclusive job descriptions at the start of the process, asking inclusive interview questions at the middle of the process, and unbiased hiring based on qualifications and skills at the end of the process. Following these few simple steps can help you ensure that your hiring team is following inclusive practices throughout your hiring process. 

First, when you develop your inclusive job descriptions, it’s important to ensure that you are wording them in such a way that avoids bias, or any references to personal characteristics. Allow your job description to draw in qualified candidates without presenting any kind of image of the person being envisioned for the role, beyond skillset. Focus primarily on the job itself, the skills required, the qualifications that are preferred, and the role that the candidate will play within the company. In the past, hiring managers were often told to imagine the person filling the role in order to write the job description, but this practice has been shown to lead to imagining a person in the role who is just like you: a form of bias. 

Second, when you create your inclusive interview questions, it’s important to review them carefully to ensure that your questions are unbiased and focus primarily on the role, skills, and qualifications necessary to perform the job. While you may wish to get to know candidates on a deeper level, ultimately that is unnecessary in the workplace. The most important part of hiring is knowing that the candidate can and will perform the job that you are hiring for. Candidates in job interviews report feeling that interviews are more equitable when they are asked to expand upon their skills and qualifications rather than upon personal facts. Not only do inclusive interviews make the candidates feel better, they can also allow your company to find the truly best candidate for the job. 

Finally, when you are selecting your candidate to make a job offer, if you adhere to the guidelines for creating an inclusive interview process, you will have better information to help you make an educated decision. With a scoring process, you will know which candidate scored highest in skills and qualifications, even if they were not the person who stood out most to you because they reminded you of yourself, or reminded you of your image of an “ideal candidate.”

Following best practices in inclusive interviewing will give you better tools to work with when making your hiring decisions.  

Inclusive Hiring Practices

Why is inclusive hiring important? There are many reasons why inclusive hiring is important. First of all, job seekers report inclusive hiring practices as among their most important determining factors when choosing a company to work for. Candidates look for diversity and inclusion in recruitment and are hyperaware of inclusive interview practices because these efforts signal to them how inclusive and aware your company culture is. After all, inclusive hiring practices are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to joining a new workplace. 

Inclusive hiring is not just important because of what you are signaling to potential hires, however. It is also designed to eliminate bias from the hiring process and therefore from the team that is created through hiring. Because everyone has unconscious biases, inclusive hiring enables all people involved to put those aside and learn how to recruit without bias. This causes the team to be more inclusive and balanced and provides equitable opportunities to all of the skilled candidates who apply. 

Diversity and inclusion in recruitment is more than following guidelines and hiring a certain number of people who fit certain demographics. That outdated practice has affected workplace hiring and caused it to be less, not more, equitable. Truly diverse and equitable hiring practices enable employees to have deeper trust and confidence in their employers as they allow for fairness and equitability well behind hiring and throughout employment as well.

So how can you make sure that you are utilizing inclusive hiring practices throughout your candidate recruitment and beyond? In the next section, we’ll cover how to create an inclusive hiring checklist that ensures that you are covering all of your bases during your recruitment processes. 

Inclusive Hiring Checklist

During your hiring process, it can be incredibly helpful to develop an inclusive hiring checklist, which is the simplified list of all of the criteria we’ve already discussed. Your checklist should include everything from the DEI hiring practices list (Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Hiring Practices) to ensure that you are adhering to the recommended guidelines laid out to guide hiring managers to fairer practices. 

​​The DEI hiring checklist should include a section on interviewing and the screening process. Questions to ask candidates should focus on assessing their professional skills as well as their knowledge and experience with diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives. It may also be helpful to add questions about the candidate's understanding of current trends in workplace diversity and any potential strategies they have for creating a more equitable work environment.

The hiring checklist should also include a section addressing the company’s recruitment practices. This should include an assessment of how the organization advertises available positions and the process it uses to evaluate applicants. Additionally, this section should address any implicit or explicit biases in the recruitment process and strategies for increasing diversity in the applicant pool.

Finally, the DEI hiring checklist should include a section on onboarding and training new hires. This should focus on introducing them to the company’s diversity policies and encouraging respectful communication between different cultures and backgrounds. It could also include workshops or other activities for increasing cultural awareness and sensitivity among staff members.

When you are beginning your hiring process, you may also want to create an inclusive hiring statement to keep your team on track with your mission to emphasize diversity and inclusion in interviews. If you are using interview intelligence software like Pillar’s, it can be simple to add your checklist to your interview process to ensure that every candidate who comes through your door experiences a fair and equitable hiring process.