5 Ways to Make Interviews More Inclusive

5 Ways to Make Interviews More Inclusive

Diversity and inclusivity are now widely viewed as being essential components of building successful and resilient organizations. In order to achieve a diverse and inclusive workplace, practices that centre on accessibility and equity should be in place at the very start of an employee’s relationship with an organisation – the recruitment and interview process.

Interviews serve as the initial point of contact between employers and prospective employees, offering a glimpse into the organization's values, culture, and commitment to diversity. Inclusivity in interviews isn't just about ticking boxes or meeting quotas; it's about fostering an environment where every candidate feels valued, respected, and empowered to showcase their skills and experiences.

Why is inclusivity in interviews important?

A diverse workforce brings together individuals with varied perspectives, backgrounds, and talents, enriching the make-up of an organization and driving innovation. However, achieving diversity goes beyond hiring individuals from different demographics; it requires a deliberate and inclusive approach throughout the hiring process.

By creating a diverse and equitable hiring process, organizations can tap into a broader talent pool, harnessing the unique strengths and experiences of individuals from all walks of life. Moreover, it sends a powerful message to candidates that the organization values fairness, equity, and inclusivity – qualities that are fundamental to building a thriving and inclusive workplace culture.

Here are our top 5 ways to ensure all candidates are able to showcase their suitability in interviews.

1. Educate Interviewers

   - Provide comprehensive training on unconscious bias: Organize structured workshops or training sessions to educate interviewers about the various forms of unconscious bias, such as affinity bias, halo effect, and confirmation bias. Real-life examples and case studies can be employed to illustrate how bias can impact decision-making during interviews. Emphasize the importance of self-awareness and introspection in identifying and addressing unconscious biases.

   - Encourage interviewers to recognize and challenge their own biases: Foster an environment where interviewers feel comfortable acknowledging their biases without fear of judgment. Encourage reflection on past experiences to identify patterns of bias. Provide strategies and tools for interviewers to actively challenge their biases, such as seeking diverse perspectives from colleagues or pausing to reflect on assumptions.

   - Offer resources and workshops to enhance interviewer awareness and sensitivity: Develop educational materials, articles, and videos to deepen interviewers' understanding of diversity, equity, and inclusion. Organize interactive workshops led by diversity and inclusion experts to facilitate ongoing learning and dialogue.

2. Implement Structured Interviewing Techniques

   -   Advocate for standardized questions and evaluation criteria: Standardized interview questions tailored to the requirements of the position ensure that all candidates are evaluated based on the same criteria. Questions should elicit specific examples of candidates' past experiences, behaviours, and accomplishments to enable objective evaluation. Clear evaluation criteria aligned with the job requirements, such as technical skills and cultural fit, should be established.

   -   Emphasize the importance of consistency in assessing candidates' qualifications:   Interviewers should focus on objective observations and evidence when evaluating candidates, rather than relying on intuition. Feedback mechanisms should be implemented to monitor interviewers' adherence to structured interviewing techniques and identify areas for improvement.

3.   Foster a Welcoming Environment

   -   Address physical accessibility concerns for candidates with disabilities:   Conduct a thorough assessment of interview facilities to identify and address any physical barriers. Provide alternative arrangements or accommodations, such as sign language interpreters or assistive technologies, to ensure equal access for all candidates. Open communication about available accommodations is essential.

   -   Train staff to create a welcoming and respectful atmosphere:   Provide training to interviewers and support staff on best practices for creating a welcoming and inclusive environment during interviews. Emphasize respectful communication, active listening, and cultural sensitivity. Encourage empathy, flexibility, and openness to accommodate candidates' individual needs and preferences.

4.   Offer Alternative Interview Formats

   -   Provide options for remote or virtual interviews:  Recognize that in-person interviews may pose challenges for some candidates. Offer remote or virtual interview options using video conferencing platforms to accommodate diverse needs. Clear instructions and technical support should be provided to ensure a seamless and accessible interview experience.

   -   Consider alternative communication methods for candidates with disabilities:   Traditional interview formats may not be suitable for candidates with certain disabilities. Offer alternative communication methods, such as written interviews or assistive technologies, to accommodate candidates' needs and preferences.

5.   Prioritize Diversity in Interview Panels

   -   Advocate for diverse interview panels:  Strive to assemble interview panels that reflect a diverse range of identities, backgrounds, experiences, and perspectives. Diversity enhances the evaluation process and promotes a more inclusive workplace culture.

   -   Encourage collaboration among panel members:  Collaboration and open dialogue among panel members ensure a comprehensive and balanced assessment of candidates. Panel members should challenge each other's assumptions and biases respectfully and constructively.

   -   Ensure all voices are heard and valued:  Create an inclusive environment where every panel member's input is solicited, respected, and valued. Opportunities should be provided for all panel members to contribute their insights and perspectives.

By implementing these detailed strategies, organizations can create a more inclusive and equitable interview process, attracting and retaining top talent from diverse backgrounds and experiences.

How can Reed Screening help?

Whatever the make-up of your team, when hiring it’s important to ensure that risk is minimised through thorough screening. With over 60 years of experience in recruitment, and over 9 years of experience as screening specialists, Reed Screening is ideally placed to advise your business on the best way to ensure that new hires are a boost to your company’s performance.