How To Change Recruitment Processes to Promote Workplace Equality

Author Hope Weatherford Date Jan 17 2021

The coronavirus has negatively impacted some groups far more than others. Women have been disproportionately affected, with one out of three females having reported losing their jobs or receiving a cut in hours.

Women are more likely to work in industries such as travel, hospitality, retail and food and beverage, which were hardest hit during the lockdowns. Sadly, these statistics get worse among women who are from minority backgrounds.

For all the damage coronavirus has brought, it’s important that gender and racial equity become yet another casualty. Here, we will discuss how HR and recruitment professionals can design a recruitment process that doesn’t exclude qualified candidates from diverse backgrounds.

We’ll also discuss the importance of incorporating diversity in all aspects of your workplace culture, not just your hiring process, and how to proactively source diverse candidates.

How to attract, hire and retain qualified candidates from diverse backgrounds

Here are the top tips you can use for finding and retaining the most qualified and diverse candidates that you can find:

Engage in the communities you are looking to hire from

Valuing diversity and focusing on building a more inclusive workforce is one of the best things you can do to help build a winning team. But if you can’t find diverse candidates by looking within your existing team, then consider engaging in the communities you are looking to hire from.

Your company can attend career fairs specifically for marginalized groups, such as women in STEM. There are also many groups on social media that are geared towards diverse members within an industry. Getting involved with a professional organization for minorities is another way to attract diverse talent.

Realize it’s more than just recruitment

Diversity doesn’t end with recruitment. Consider whether your workplace culture is really embracing diversity, and if not, what you can do to change that. It’s possible that the homogeneity of your office may be turning diverse people away subconsciously.

Look from within

Hiring managers must be careful not to assume that a candidate won’t fit in with your team just because they are from a different background. However, making candidates feel included is important. One great way you can do this is by asking your existing team if they know of any qualified candidates from diverse backgrounds. A referral program can not only bring you candidates that mesh well with your team, but can also increase your chances of finding qualified individuals.

Companies looking to avoid this type of situation can attempt to identify existing employees from diverse backgrounds as potential candidates for promotions. Does your company have any promising employees that you believe might be able to fill an open position? Investing in your employee’s education and skill set can build loyalty and also increase diversity in your team.

Acknowledge your implicit bias

As a recruiter or hiring manager, it’s important to honestly acknowledge your implicit biases. We all have them!

Several studies have revealed that hiring managers, whether they are male or female, consistently rate males as more competent and female candidates for positions in stem STEM. Consider removing names from resumes before circulating them to department leaders or before reading them yourself to cut out all possibility of implicit bias.

Be flexible

To be flexible in your recruitment process, embrace digital tools to connect you to qualified candidates. For example, offering a Zoom interview as an option instead of asking for an in-person meeting can expand the geographic reach of your candidate pool and make interviews easier. Many individuals from diverse populations are also caretakers, which means they may have trouble taking an afternoon off on short notice.

The world has adapted rapidly to digital life, with the coronavirus pandemic accelerating digitalization. Taking your business fully online is essentially a necessity now as 95% of all purchases are expected to be conducted via ecommerce by 2040. Trade fairs have become virtual events, retail has shifted to ecommerce platforms, and banking has gone online. Show your candidates that your company can keep up with the times by embracing technology as a means of communication.

Remove requirements from a job posting that aren’t absolutely necessary.

You say you’d like a candidate with 5 years of experience, but would you really turn away the perfect candidate that had only 4 years of experience? A Harvard study shows that females generally only apply to jobs if they feel that they meet 100% of the requirements, whereas that number goes down to 60% for men.


It’s important that companies remain committed to diversity and inclusion. It’s not only the right thing to do, but it will help your organization remain competitive and innovative.

Attracting, hiring and retaining diverse candidates will remain a focus in the future. It’s important that HR and recruitment leaders stay mindful of the challenges brought about by the coronavirus pandemic. Taking steps to ensure that diversity remains a focus for your organization will help continue the progress made towards a more inclusive future.


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About the Author

Global Head of People

Hope Weatherford

Hope Weatherford has more than 15 years of experience in the People space, and currently leads the People Team at Fountain. She has worked at different levels for all types of companies, from Fortune 100 to early-stage startups. She also serves as an advisor to multiple HR tech startups.