How to begin building an inclusive recruitment experience

Female leader

Despite great strides being made in building more inclusive workplaces in the UK, the Chartered Institute of Personal Development (CIPD) found that in 2017 over 60% of LGBT graduates who were ‘out’ while at university went ‘back in the closet’ when they started work. In London only a third of LGB people felt comfortable being ‘out’ at work.

As recruitment organisations, we tend to focus on our own internal teams and structures when we think about creating LGBT inclusive cultures in the workplace. But for a candidate to join our team they have to go through our own recruitment process, which means we must first ask the question: “What can we do to ensure we’re offering an inclusive recruitment experience to LGBT candidates?” 

  • Monitor diversity
    Does your organisation monitor and report on the diversity of applications from a sexual orientation and gender identity perspective? Look at the number of diverse applications that progress through to interview and to hire, to help you identify potential bias in your recruitment process.

    It’s also important to ensure the questions you ask in any monitoring survey don’t conflate sexual orientation and gender identity, and that questions on these areas are posed separately.

  • Use inclusive language
    Do the forms used in your recruitment process include gendered wording? Consider using gender neutral terminology such as “they” or “theirs” rather than “he” or “she” to ensure you’re being inclusive to members of the non-binary or gender fluid community. When asking applicants to select their title, do you offer the recognised option of ‘Mx’ to those that identify outside the social binary definition of gender?

  • Provide recruitment training
    Have your recruiters been trained on LGBT inclusive practices? Consider the example of candidate who submitted a CV as Jane Smith, but later informed the recruiter that they wished to be known as James Smith going forward and was proposing to undergo gender reassignment.

    Would your recruiters be able to deliver the best candidate experience in this instance? Would they know that your organisation has a specific policy for transitioning at work and a LGBT network group if the candidate has questions on these topics?

  • Prepare your pre-employment screening team
    The objective of pre-employment screening (PES) is to investigate the background of potential employees, to verify the accuracy of an applicant’s claims, and to identify any criminal history or financial issues. Much of this is based on references from previous employers or financial documentation.

    Consider if an applicant had changed their gender half way through their previous role, which had also resulted in a legal change in name and title. Would your PES team know this candidate shouldn’t be automatically rejected because they submitted documentation in their previous legal name? Training your teams to have an awareness of these factors helps ensure that the candidate experience doesn’t suffer at this stage of the on-boarding process.

Making sure your organisation offers LGBT inclusive recruitment processes can provide recruitment organisations with a unique stewardship opportunity, benefiting candidates, clients and wider society.

We are proud to be on a continuous journey with our clients, candidates, corporate partners and employees to perpetuate a more diverse vision for the future. Find out more about what it's like to work for Resource Solutions.