We want to attract the best possible talent from the broadest range of people and continue to improve representation of groups that are under-represented across our workforce. Adopting inclusive recruitment practices – from when you are developing the job description to deciding on who to appoint – can help support this aim.
Bringing together individuals from different backgrounds and with different personal circumstances brings a wider range of experience, leading to improved decision-making, innovation and problem solving. To do this, we need to ensure that we avoid making decisions based on ‘culture fit’ which means ‘people like us’ and instead adopt an approach based on ‘culture add’ which means ‘people bringing different perspectives’. Here are some areas to consider:
Review the job description and associated promotional material
Review the job description and associated promotional material to ensure you are appealing to a broad range of candidates. These questions may help:
- Are all of the ‘essential’ criteria listed necessary for doing the job well?
- Do any of the criteria reflect unnecessary assumptions or biases about the ‘kind of person’ who usually does this job?
- Could additional criteria be included that would open up possibilities for a wider range of excellent candidates?
- Do you include criteria specifically linked to inclusion as essential requirements? For example: ‘a proven ability to inspire and educate a diverse range of students’; ‘ensuring a wide range of teaching materials in line with wider aims to decolonise our curriculum’; ‘a proven ability to work with a diverse range of people’; ‘able to demonstrate a clear commitment to diversity and inclusion’? Having this explicitly included means that you can then explore this further at interview.
- Does any of the language in the description describe people rather than behaviours, or subtly reflect stereotypes (e.g. ‘results-driven’, ‘action-oriented’, ‘people-person’)?
- Would external applicants be familiar with the terminology you are using – is there a risk of over-using ‘insider language’ which could be exclusionary to those outside the HE sector? It’s worth seeking feedback from a person who is disconnected to your area of work and ideally outside of the University – for example, a friend or a family member.
- We often check out the web pages associated with a potential employer when considering making an application. Are your externally-facing web pages welcoming to people from all backgrounds? If a person from a marginalised group accessed your web pages would they feel that this is a place where they would belong?
Targeted promotion of your vacancy
Understanding your data in relation to the diversity of people across your workforce will help identify any areas where particular groups are under-represented. The use of general and targeted positive action statements and measures can help to encourage applications from marginalised groups. You may also want to consider holding a Discover… session to take your vacancy directly to our city.
It is no good having a vacancy that potential applicants are not aware of. As provider of education some people may never have considered seeking employment with us as they are not aware of the range of employment opportunities that we offer. It is important to carefully consider your advertising options to maximise the reach of your vacancy. Our Reach Organisational Contact List (Office document, 17kB) contains contact details for some local organisations who may be able to support our aspiration of attracting a wider range of potential applicants. Fees may be charged by some organisations for the provision of some adverting services.
Adopt the PTR model to support decision-making
A really helpful tool to help frame your decision-making is the PTR (Preference, Tradition, Requirement) model. The acronym is a decision-making strategy used at EY that asks managers to pause and consider diversity and inclusion. It challenges leaders to examine their preferences toward candidates similar to themselves, consider whether their decision is being influenced by the traditional characteristics of a certain role or outcome and make their choice based on the requirements of the post rather than either of the first two factors. The tool gives you a way of questioning the status quo without accusing colleagues of being biased.