In our latest guest post, we welcome Natasha Broomfield-Reid, Director at Diverse Matters, to the Hireserve blog. Natasha is sharing practical guidance and areas for you to consider around inclusive interviews:

Organisations spend a significant time and effort in the recruitment process.  They often recruit in exactly the same way, without thinking how the recruitment cycle and its processes could become more inclusive.

This is not to blame anyone. We are often simply too busy to sit back and reflect on how we can improve our practices.

So here are a few thoughts on how to make interviews inclusive. You may already know some of these but it is always beneficial to have a refresher…

Five tips for inclusive interviews
(This is by no means is this an exhaustive list, but a few hints and tips!)

1. Environment

Have you ensured the interview is going to take place in an environment that is a positive one for an interview process?  For many people interviews can be an anxious time, so they need to be held in an environment where there are not going to be any interruptions or noise distracting the applicant.

There are also applicants, for example, who have a neurodiverse condition where sensory issues are heightened. Too much noise, therefore, may negatively impact how they respond to an interview situation.  This could also be the experience for individuals with hearing loss, and those who may be an introvert.

You want to get the best out of people at interview, so ensure the environment is the best it can possibly be. I myself have been in many interviews where the noise from external sources is terrible!

2. Values 

Within the interview process, do you ask Diversity and Inclusion related questions? This can be really beneficial in assessing individuals’ attitudes towards D&I, inclusive cultures and working with people who may be different to them.

We need to be asking questions, however, that relate to the specific role – not a ‘standard’ Diversity and Inclusion question. This is because most people know by now how to respond to questions like: ‘What do you understand by the terms Equality, Diversity and Inclusion?’’  Responses to this can be learnt and will not truly give you an idea of how the applicant will respond to certain situations or their thoughts and values around Diversity.

Pose a question that allows you to think about how they consider others, value inclusion and manage a situation.

3. Adjustments

Most people know by now that organisations have a duty to ask applicants if they require any reasonable adjustments to attend the interview.

This could include an appropriate venue, time of interview or providing information in an alternative format.  It is essential that this is asked of all applicants.

 

“Pose a question that allows you to think about how the candidate will consider others and value inclusion…”

 

4. Assessment 

Are you using appropriate methods to assess competency and capability of the role you are recruiting for?  Or are you just using the same that have been historically used? Have you ensured that whatever assessment you are using, there is the ability to change this if a reasonable adjustment was required?  So many questions!

On a serious note though, please ensure that the assessment really is one that specifically addresses the skills required for the role, and that you have considered whether the assessment is as inclusive as possible.

For example, many people are asked to deliver a presentation when delivering and presenting is not a key part of the role.  Delivering a presentation does not come naturally to everyone and this can make the interview process even more daunting for the applicant.

5. Knowledge 

Do those who are involved in the interviewing process have the appropriate knowledge and skills to carry out the role appropriately? Carrying out interviews effectively takes skill.

Have the interviewers been trained in dealing with bias, safer recruitment, engaging with applicants with diverse needs?  And have you also looked at how bias can be reduced or eliminated within the interview process?

 

We are delighted that Natasha, Director at Diverse Matters, is presenting at this year’s Hireserve User Group on Thursday 21st March. The User Group is an annual conference in central London, designed for Hireserve ATS users to learn, share and evolve.

Natasha will be speaking about how to embed accessible and inclusive processes into every element of the hiring cycle. The Hireserve User Group 2019 is now sold out, but customers can join the waiting list over on the Hireserve Hub!

 

About the author

Natasha is the founder and Director of Diverse Matters. She is responsible for the overall running of the company and for the design and delivery of a range of diversity and inclusion solutions for organisations within all sectors. Natasha has over 20 years’ experience of working within the diversity and inclusion field and, prior to setting up Diverse Matters, was the Head of Equality, Diversity and Inclusion for Victim Support. Natasha led the organisation to become a Stonewall Top 100 Employer, achieve the ‘Leaders in Diversity’ accreditation from the National Centre for Diversity and be a Top 50 Inclusive employer and Best Employer for Race List (2018).