Diversity adds tremendous value to the workplace. Creating collaborative teams of people from different age groups, experience levels, and backgrounds helps create fresh perspectives and a healthy company culture.
There's been a paradigm shift in hiring practices over the past decade, with the intention of leveling the playing field. Developments in automation have helped guide this process, but it's up to HR managers to create and enforce policies for inclusive hiring.
Here are some practical considerations when designing a more age-inclusive and diversified hiring process.
The Challenges of Discrimination in the Workplace
There are several types of discrimination in the workplace. Ageism, for example, is discrimination against individuals on the basis of age. It can take many forms, including being passed over for promotions, not being hired due to age, or being subjected to negative stereotypes.
Other forms of discrimination include gender discrimination, racial discrimination, ableism, or other hurtful perceptions and microaggressions pertaining to someone's background.
Discrimination in all forms can limit individuals from reaching their potential in the workplace. It can create a hostile work environment that damages the company's reputation and increases turnover rates.
In essence, creating an inclusive workplace benefits the employees and the company.
Tips for Designing an Inclusive Hiring Process
There are several steps your company can take to create a more inclusive hiring process, including the following:
Removing Identifiers from Applications
Implementing an automated system to screen applications can help remove what's known as unconscious bias. Unconscious bias is a learned, automatic preference for or against a person or group of people that happens without awareness or intention. It affects decision-making and can lead to unfair treatment of others.
For example, some hiring managers may experience unconscious bias when they see an ethnic-sounding name on a resume. This could lead to concerns about whether the person speaks English fluently. The hiring manager may not be consciously aware of these thoughts or concerns, but it could impact their decision to call the person for an interview. In reality, the individual may be a native speaker.
Using an automatic tracking system (ATS) allows hiring managers to remove identifiers, such as age, name, and gender, from an application. Instead, the scanner focuses on metrics incorporated in a resume and qualifications.
Use Inclusive Language on the Job Posting
Job postings can also be a deterrent to potential candidates from different groups. For example, the phrase "seeking a recent graduate" is limiting for qualified candidates from an older demographic. Instead, "seeking a candidate with relevant skills and experience" invites everyone with the right qualifications to apply.
Using gender-neutral language also helps create a more welcoming job posting — for example, using pronouns like "they" or "them." Adding a note that people from minority groups or different abilities are welcome also speaks directly to those groups to create a more welcoming environment.
If your job post includes graphics and imagery, use a wide range of individuals to improve representation.
Re-Evaluate Job Requirements
Be sure that your job posting is realistic and encourages people to apply based on experience and passion rather than focusing on educational background.
For example, there are many horror stories online about entry-level jobs posted with unrealistic prerequisites that discourage high-potential candidates from applying. Similarly, requesting university transcripts for someone with ample experience who graduated over a decade ago adds no value to the position.
Set aside time every year to look over job post templates and requirements to ensure your policies are up to date with best practices.
Create Inclusive Interview Guidelines
Companies have a legal obligation to avoid overly personal questions when interviewing a candidate. For example, whether someone has kids, how old they are, etc.
Using a pre-set template of questions will help ensure consistency and fairness during the interview process. Implementing a diverse hiring panel will also help level the playing field.
Creating an Ongoing Culture of Diversity and Inclusion
Creating an inclusive hiring process is integral for long-term success. However, it doesn't stop there. Ensure your brand is dedicated to continuing diversity and inclusion beyond the hiring process, making strides to ingrain these values in the company culture.
About the Author: Duke Brighton is a marketer who designs value-rich content aimed at increasing clientele for expanding businesses. Networking, building partnerships, and providing quality products with shareable value make this possible. He's an author whose professional writing follows trends in careers, finance, education, real estate, and more.