How to Target the Right Candidate for Your Job Postings?

March 1, 2024 hr-observer-2024-diversity-inclusion

Diversity and inclusion should be centre stage when planning a recruitment campaign. Forward-looking organisations may develop a specific diversity recruitment strategy that emphasises their commitment to diversity and inclusion. By being vocal about diversity, and equal opportunities, organisation may become attractive to a larger pool of candidates.

The HR team should support recruiting managers by guiding them through key principles. They must provide opportunities to practice and ensuring they are aware of any legal obligations. An essential element of this training is working with managers to ensure they understand the value of being inclusive.

Prior to advertising a new role, businesses must evaluate the current workforce to understand the level of diversity.

Upon reflecting on the background of the current workforce, the HR team can explore publications or other avenues with potential for diverse reach. By reaching out to them, the HR team are encouraging under-represented groups to apply for the role. An example is to look at professional network sites or online jobs boards in particular communities.

What to ask before advertising a job?

  • Is the job title reflective of the role? 
  • Review the job description to check if it is current and uses clear and inclusive language.
  • Use it as an opportunity to promote the organisation through information sent to candidates – for example, it could identify employee benefits that would be attractive to different groups.
  • Thinking now about the job advert, are all the criteria clear and fair for the level of the role? 

For example, it would not be fair to request 5 years of work experience for an entry-level position as it would exclude younger candidates. Your criteria should be behavior-based so there is more objectivity.

  • Give an indication of the salary level – this will help candidates to assess their suitability.
  • Give careful consideration to the wording used in the recruitment advert, for example, research suggests that words such as driven and fearless are less attractive to women.
  • How can you indicate the inclusivity of the organisation to external candidates?

Once the role is advertised, someone should be available in case of any queries. They should also consider if any adjustments are needed for persons of determination to enable their participation in the selection activities.

When applications are received, the HR team must review them systematically against the essential criteria. Applications must be reviewed by more than one person.

I recommend record keeping as it is critical for feedback. Moreoever, everyone involved in the process should confirm that they do not have any potential conflicts of interest with any candidates.

Despite the challenge, all the panel members are responsible for ensuring there is no unconscious bias during the selection process.

What type of information do you collect as part of the selection process?

Only request information that is needed to make an objective decision. In the UK, the best practice is to detach the personal details from an application so they can’t influence the decision-making.

  • Using a standard application form is preferable to soliciting CVs as it enables the reviewers to be able to see all of the relevant information in the same format. It also reduces any potential bias towards people with well (or poorly) presented CVs.
  • On a practical level, interviews should consist of a panel-rather than one individual- that is representative of the organisation so that there is diversity in gender, age and experience.
  • Before the interviews, all panel members should receive appropriate training, including the ability to identify unconscious bias.
  • Nonetheless, candidates should be given adequate time to prepare for their interview and relevant information should be shared with them. 
  • Where additional selection activities are used, it is important that they are appropriate for the role that you are selecting for. For example, for lecturing roles, it is normal to ask candidates to deliver a presentation.
  • While seeking references is still common, we must acknowledge that they can be subjective.
Professor Fiona Robson

Head of Edinburgh Business School and Social Sciences, Heriot-Watt University Dubai

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