In the latest White Paper from The Business of Fashion, 8 global experts within the D&I space shared their knowledge and expertise on four crucial areas businesses in every industry need to be assessing and overhauling within their hiring process in order to create a more inclusive recruitment process. We’ve put together a series of blogs that highlight the key takeaways from their report and panel discussion that can help you to work through your own hiring process and route out outdated practises in favour of more forward thinking and inclusive strategies.

Once implementation of genuine change at a leadership level has begun, it’s time to start thinking about how you can widen your talent pools by attracting a more diverse range of candidates.

Step 2: Attract Diverse Talent

Widen your talent pools:

Expand your talent pools – one of the most popular channels to finding new hires is employee referrals. But if your current workforce lacks diversity, you will continue to hire more of the same. Consider partnering with organisations and specialist job boards that will give you access to a diverse talent pool if you are looking to legitimately diversify your workforce as well as diversifying your thinking.

Craft your job specs with consideration:

Whilst we may think that our hiring processes are open and fair to everyone, discrimination can unintentionally occur in the form of unconscious bias within job descriptions.

As we discussed in our Attracting a Diverse Workforce panel discussion earlier this year, women are less likely to apply for a role if they feel as though they don’t match 100% of the criteria, whilst men will apply even if they feel as though they match only 60% of what is being asked of them. Consider using bias-eliminating tools to filter and check your job specs for gender-coded words or descriptors that may deter older, disabled or underrepresented applicants to ensure that you are not creating any barriers that may lead to candidates self-selecting out of the process.

What’s more, choosing or eliminating candidates based on their completion of highly sought-after internships further filters out talent that cannot afford unpaid work, effectively adding another socio-economic barrier to recruitment. Think about what is essential and what is desirable, and make sure these things are clearly distinguished within your job descriptions. It’s also worth thinking about "equivalent qualifications that can be earned through lived experience community work, [and] different types of employment”, as suggested by Dr Ben Barry, Chair and Associate Professor, Equity, Diversity & Inclusion, Ryerson University.

Strive for progression but be honest about where your company is now:

Be transparent about your company’s progress. Making performative statements rather than taking progressive actions will be noticed by candidates. Jane Hatton, founder and CEO of Evenbreak, a recruitment firm and jobs board for disabled candidates recommends employers state their commitment near the top of the job spec. “It won’t put anyone off, but it might stop a number of people being put off if it’s not there. Millennials are particularly keen on inclusive employers, whether they fit those categories or not.” It might also be worth considering a webpage or section of your website dedicated to highlighting your workplace D&I goals, initiatives and benefits that might be attractive underrepresented groups.

Whilst there’s no doubt that we all want the best employees for our businesses, it’s time we re-evaluated exactly what 'the best' is and take steps to ensure opportunities for all candidates are equal. Until there is genuine change within our education systems and unpaid internships become a thing of the past, it’s the responsibility of each business within the Tech industry to level the playing field for candidates when it comes to setting inclusive criteria and sourcing talent.

For a more indepth guide to assessing the incusivity of your recruitment process, be sure to read the White Paper produced by the Business of Fashion here & for further insights, watch the panel discussion here.

>> Read the third step: Assessing Candidates Fairly >>