Community-sourced DEI best practices for hiring

August 26th, 2021
Stuart Banbery
Diversity & Inclusion

As we continue to navigate through the pandemic and prioritize equity in response to huge global social movements, we have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to reset and turn DEI ideals into action. The good news is that although uncertainty remains, talent leaders are in a unique position to drive actionable change in their day-to-day processes.

As part of a recent survey HireVue conducted - the Global Hiring Landscape Survey, it was discovered that 100% of the 1,142 hiring leaders surveyed consider the topic of DEI “extremely relevant” or “very relevant” to them. However, at least 33% of those respondents have no plan in place to execute DEI goals. This is in spite of the fact that greater diversity has been linked to higher levels of innovation, creativity and better decision-making within a business. McKinsey also found that companies in the top quartile for racial and ethnic diversity are 35 percent more likely to have financial returns above their respective national industry medians. While companies in the top quartile for gender diversity are 15 percent more likely to have financial returns above their respective national industry medians. So as well as the social responsibility we have to improve diversity, there is also a clear business case.

So what are some of the practical steps that you can take to improve diversity, equity and inclusion in the hiring process? We pulled together some of the best ideas and takeaways shared by the senior talent acquisition community at the events we have run so far in 2021.

Making diversity more diverse

Diversity conversations typically focus on commonly known demographics, such as race, gender, disability and how they relate to positive or negative work outcomes. Diversity is broader than this though. Diversity is any attribute that can lead a person to perceive another as different from themselves and it extends beyond protected classes to things like socioeconomic status and geography. So as an employer it’s critical that you’re considering all forms of diversity when designing your hiring process.

Here at HireVue, we partner with many non-profit organizations, one of these is Integrate Autism Employment Advisors, which helps identify, recruit and retain professionals on the autism spectrum. Integrate launched its first deployment of HireVue’s virtual interviewing and assessments technology to evaluate and coach hundreds of neurodivergent candidates in their network. Since then the partnership has developed, with Integrate now helping HireVue with the creation of candidate and employer best practice documents for hiring neurodivergent candidates.

Tips for employers include things like:

  • Provide a preview of the interview process in print or video form so the candidate can put their best foot forward.
  • Share your questions prior to the interview so that candidates can prepare and will feel more comfortable
  • Provide a point of contact in case candidates need explanation or assistance

How tech can play a part

COVID has brought the future forward and shown that companies need not be limited by location when hiring, and being prepared for virtual hiring is one of the best ways to achieve business continuity in a world where change is constant. Our experts suggested ways to reach a broader pool of candidates. By opening up locations and giving them the flexibility to complete an interview in their own time, you are able to reach a more diverse candidate pool.

There were various pitfalls shared that companies can fall into when hiring. One of the most common is that hiring managers may feel confident in their ‘gut-feel’ and rely too much on that. Yet years of research has shown us that this is not the best way to go about selecting candidates because it often leads to similar candidates being selected. It is so easy to convince yourself that you are being fair in considering each candidate and that that one candidate - who just happens to come from the same school as you and share other similarities - was simply the strongest candidate. This is known as similarity bias.

Structuring the interviewing process right from the start with assessments and video interviews brings consistent and fair evaluation of candidates. By asking the same job-relevant questions to every candidate, and evaluating their answers based on job-related criteria, your hiring process will yield better, more inclusive hiring outcomes.

Demonstrate that you’re an inclusive employer

Make it known to candidates that you are committed to diversity, equity and inclusion and ensure diverse talent knows you care about the subject, for example by including a message of your CEO referring to DEI in your interview process and using inclusive language in your job postings.

According to The Science of Diversity and Inclusion Initiative (SODI), “Direct messaging from senior leadership that diversity is critical signals to underrepresented groups that they are valued, while generic Equal Employment Opportunity statements can actually backfire because they signal tokenism.” To leverage the impact of company leaders’, consider also videos to job postings and your careers page.

Provide a fair and reliable hiring process

An occupational psychologist at one of our events stressed the importance of carefully considering the language that you use in the questions you ask. Avoid heavily gendered language or content that may be misinterpreted by neurodiverse individuals. This ensures that different demographic groups aren’t challenged or excluded.

Partner with HR tech vendors that use in-house occupational psychology teams and third-party experts to validate their solutions. This increases the chance that individuals of all demographic groups feel included and have a more equitable experience. Equity is also built into the hiring process by ensuring that interviews are structured and consistent, asking the same job-relevant questions, and evaluating the same job-relevant criteria for every candidate. Structured interviews have also shown to be 2X as effective at identifying the best candidates and predicting job performance than typical ad hoc interviews.

And finally, monitor your data. Your internal team should be analyzing your data, as well as your HR Tech vendor. You are collecting large amounts of demographic information (e.g. age, gender, ethnicity), so regularly evaluate the data in your hiring systems to see whether any groups are being disproportionately advantaged / disadvantaged. Find out where these differences set in and adjust your process accordingly. At HireVue, we monitor for adverse impact prior to implementing assessments, and then no less than once per year.

To explore the solutions HireVue provides to brands like Unilever and Rackspace to help them hire more fairly, inclusively and quickly - explore the solutions HireVue provides.