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Event roundup: The blueprint for better hiring

Event roundup: The blueprint for better hiring

In our most recent webinar, we spoke to representatives from the Better Hiring Institute (BHI), DCMS and the NHS about the role of digital in making hiring faster, fairer and safer for everybody.

Presenting were:

  • Keith Rosser, BHI Chair and Director of Reed Screening
  • Alison McDowell. BHI Advisory Board Member, Co Founder of Beruku Identity and Digital Identity Advisor at DCMS
  • Phil Graham – BHI Advisory Board Member and Digital Programme Director at the NHS.

Why does hiring need to change?

Our presenters explained that hiring more fairly will be critical to organisations’ success in the recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic and through continuing periods of economic uncertainty after Brexit.

With job openings outnumbering those out of work for the first time on record, it’s never been more important for organisations to find the right skills to grow their business and bounce back from the struggles of the last couple of years.


However, with more people than ever on long-term sick leave, as well as a growing number of men aged 50-70 (typically holding senior professional positions) leaving the workforce for good, recruiting skilled workers is likely to become increasingly more challenging, so reaching out to previously underrepresented parts of the workforce will be ever more important.

How can organisations attract the right candidates?

Our presenters explained that attracting applicants from a more diverse range of groups is the best way for organisations to fill skills gaps in such a competitive market, but that these groups may have different opinions on what makes an attractive opportunity than the demographics businesses may have been targeting previously.

Factors like flexibility for parents or carers, and the ability to work from home, are likely to be seen as critically important, and organisations’ approaches to flexible working in the aftermath of COVID will play a large part in their ability to recruit the right talent going forwards.

Fairness in recruitment is also hugely important in inclusive hiring. From the wording of job adverts to the choice of interviews versus others, more inclusive assessment methods and the role of AI in recruitment, businesses will need to take a holistic view of their hiring processes to ensure that they are as fair and inclusive as they can be.

The role of the BHI

The Better Hiring Institute is championing the cause of making hiring faster, fairer and safer for everybody. By working with industry and government to campaign for fairer hiring practices and policies, the BHI is proposing a blueprint for better hiring that spans the entire process – as well as for technology which will streamline and speed up the hiring journey for candidates and employers alike.

With the launch of the Blueprint for Better Hiring in February 2022, the BHI has set out what it sees as the key priorities for businesses looking to improve their hiring processes. This will be followed by a series of industry-specific toolkits – the Local Authority toolkit has already been launched, and the Health and Social Care toolkit is due for release next month.

Case Study: NHS

Phil Graham, Digital Programme Director at the NHS, rounded up the session by presenting an example of how digital hiring could work in real life to make NHS hiring faster, fairer and safer.

The NHS is currently focussed on streamlining their induction and onboarding processes to reduce duplication, particularly when employees move from one NHS trust to another. For healthcare, the ability to verify education, training, DBS and vaccination information is critical, and Phil is proposing a centralised Staff Passport scheme to reduce the need to conduct these checks repeatedly.

The goal is for new NHS applicants to register for a staff passport wallet, through which they’d verify their identity using an IDVP. The candidate would then be taken through a self-service onboarding journey, uploading proof of vaccinations, training and other relevant documents, which would all be stored in their Staff Passport. Training needs identified during this process could be passed directly to a Learning Management System, so candidates could complete the required training instantly, and further integration could even allow the Staff Passport to activate things like door or medicine cabinet access for individuals.

While the project is still in development, the goal is to streamline the entire process in a way that gets doctors and nurses through their onboarding process and to patients’ bedsides as quickly as possible, whilst reducing back-office admin requirements and increasing security.

Insights from our attendees

We took the opportunity to get a gauge on how our attendees were feeling about current hiring practices, and how they might be improved.

Do you believe that hiring is entirely fair for all jobseekers?

  • Yes – 3%
  • No – 51%
  • Change needed – 44%

Is it important in our modern tech enabled hybrid world of work that hiring is as fast as it can be?

  • Yes - 88%
  • No - 12%

Will the use of tech make hiring safer for everyone?

  • Yes – 68%
  • Only for employers – 8%
  • Only for jobseekers – 4%
  • No – 20%

Virtually all of our respondents agreed that there was a need to make hiring fairer for jobseekers, and that for employers the hiring process needed to be faster. Most also agreed that tech had the potential to make hiring safer, although a significant percentage still remain to be convinced of the role technology can play in this.

Questions from our attendees

As usual our attendees had a raft of questions for our presenters. We’ve included the most popular questions and answers below:

Once we create this new world of digital hiring, what will be the biggest risk?

Phil - it's the same risks as we have now but in a digital format. Fraud is always something we have to keep on top of, as is inclusivity. Digital shouldn't be the be all and end all, but digital enablement can help with inclusivity. I don’t see any new risks outside of system downtime.

Alison - What Phil said is true, we have identity fraud now but we believe it will be reduced by digital identity. We're moving to a safer place, but we aren't eliminating all the problems.

Keith - we also need to look at fraud aimed at jobseekers, not employers. We're working on a DCMS consultation on online advertising programme covering online recruitment, to understand how we can ensure digital applicants are less exposed to fraud.

With the rise of technology, what about people who don't have access?

Keith - Inclusivity is key here. It’s not just in digital hiring but in applications, many organisations have moved to online applications only and this poses issues for inclusivity.

Phil – younger generations expect digital and we're finding that the fact the NHS isn't digitally mature enough is putting people off. So yes, we need to be inclusive to those who don’t have digital access now, but also be prepared for the future for those who expect it as standard.

What's the single biggest change to impact speed in hiring?

Keith - it's referencing. While DBS and Disclosure Scotland are making significant strides towards making digital certificates a reality, what we hear a lot from employers is that referencing is the thing that takes the longest. Digital Careers using payroll and open banking to supplement or replace referencing will have a big impact on this.

What happens next?

Digital hiring is a fast-moving area, and with many details still to be confirmed, Reed Screening is hosting regular events where you can stay up to date with the latest developments and share your opinion on the new processes.

Below are a few of the upcoming events you can get involved with: 

7th July – The future of hiring: Digital right to work & transforming UK hiring - Join us to learn about the future transformation of the way companies recruit. 

4th August – How to spot fake qualifications – as students receive their exam results, make sure you know how to check the right from the wrong.

1st September – Digital right to work launch - A free webinar covering the latest developments within Home Office and UK GOV impacting right to work checks for employers.