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How to Succeed With Inclusive Talent Acquisition

How to Succeed With Inclusive Talent Acquisition

Instead of blaming our “unconscious bias” for everything that goes wrong in recruitment, how about we start actively implementing some change? In 2022 and beyond, it’s time to make the mental shift from “unconscious bias” to “conscious inclusion.” To do so, we must ACT accordingly. 

In a recent “Inclusive Talent Acquisition” webinar, Invise’s Recruitment Marketing Manager, Annika Bagge sat down with Alva Lab’s Head of People, Linnea Bywall, and Adway’s Senior Advisor of Digital Talent Acquisition, Sara Dalsfelt, to discuss exactly how (with action) to be consciously inclusive across the recruiting funnel: from attraction to conversion to hiring.

In this high-energy, massive-value session, these TA thought leaders broke down how to:

  • Include talent in the top of the funnel
  • Assess candidates in a fairer way
  • Combine marketing and recruitment to help you succeed with your D & I targets
  • Build your TA funnel consciously inclusive - we’re repeating: consciously!
  • Communicate to widen your target audience
  • Remove bias from your social recruitment strategy 
  • Make sure candidate compatibility is higher and more evidence-based

Did You Know That….?

Let’s start with a few key statistics

  • Highly inclusive companies are more likely to hit their financial target goals by up to 120%
  • Companies with racial and ethnic diversity are 35% more likely to perform at a higher level and have increased ROI
  • Google stated that, by 2025, workers from under-represented groups would fill 30% of leadership positions

How to ACT on Inclusive Talent Acquisition

Eliminate Bias at the Top of the Funnel

It’s time to stop blaming our bias on being “unconscious” when we have every tool at our fingertips to be consciously inclusive in TA. Enter: social media. 

There are over 4.5 billion people on social media comprised of every country, race, gender, sexual orientation and skillset under sun. Since social media eliminates biased targeting, social recruiting can help you reach more diverse candidates and eliminate bias at the top of the funnel. 

Engage Passive Candidates Further Down the Funnel 

Active candidates are candidates who are just that — actively seeking employment. They comprise 30% of the talent market. 

Passive candidates, on the other hand, who comprise 70% of the global workforce, are typically loaded with skills and experience, have established careers and, unfortunately, are not currently seeking employment. 

Passive candidates are some of the most coveted candidates on the job market, and they a) don’t waste time jumping through hoops for jobs and b) are often found in their digital habitat on social media (home of the most diverse pool of passive candidates).

This is why, when it comes to ACTING on conscious inclusion, it’s so important to nurture, seduce and engage passive candidates further down the funnel. 

Tap Into Smart TA Systems 

Certain smart TA systems and technologies are designed to give candidates equal weight in the recruiting and screening process. They can employ specific selection criteria that help the humans in HR build relationships instead of bias. 

If you start to work data-driven in your initial talent attraction, it makes for a faster hiring process that fosters a diverse and inclusive candidate pool and workplace. 

Minimise Human Interaction Early in the Recruiting Process

To act on conscious inclusion, it’s essential to treat each and every candidate the same way, and have your eyes wide open while doing so. 

It might sound counterintuitive, but the less human interaction we implement earlier in the funnel (don’t worry, there will be plenty of people involved down the line), the more data-driven and structured we can be. 

This helps strip bias from the equation right from the getgo and also automates and streamlines the hiring process. A win, win for recruiters and candidates. 

Create More Inclusive Content

It might be time to switch up your content and languaging to copy that builds inclusivity into every message. 

For example, to attract more female talent, think about: 

  • Switching out “independent” with → “self-directed.”
  • Changing “competent” to → “knowledgeable.” 
  • Ditching words like “competitive,” “star” or “a-team.” These make it difficult for women to see themselves represented.
  • Using more gender-neutral terms and, more importantly, A/B testing how they perform in your paid job ads. 

From your career page to your job ads to your blogs and employer branding materials, inclusive language is essential to attracting a diverse candidate audience. 

Equally important is featuring your real, diverse workforce and letting them tell the story of what it’s like to work at your company. From lively video testimonials to vivid images of company events, etc., content is king (or queen!) when it comes to inclusive talent acquisition. 

Map Out Your Candidate Persona(s)

Before you can create consciously inclusive content, it’s essential to map out who your target candidate personas are. 

  • Where can these candidates be found?
  • What kind of tone speaks to them best?
  • Which types of images will resonate with them?

Research and data are (surprise surprise!) the main factors in this part of the process as well. 

What You Can Do in Each Phase of the Funnel

Top of the Funnel: Attraction Phase

To widen your candidate audience during the attraction phase, it all starts with diverse and inclusive content in the recruitment marketing itself — from gender-neutral and inclusive language to inviting images to the promotion of a diverse and inclusive team culture and employer brand. 

Here’s how: 

  • Ditch the stock photo strategy
  • Show your real team 
  • Become well-versed in anti-discrimination policies on social media 
  • Install behavioural tracking tools into your career page so you can distinguish candidate interests, behaviours and factors that are not based on their age, gender, location, etc. In doing so, you can implement a completely unbiased, anti-discriminatory recruitment approach

Middle of the Funnel: Engagement Phase

Engaging a candidate in your talent pool is a lot about speed, efficiency and showing your interest. This is a time for “all hands on deck.” There’s a small window of time before this active candidate is taken by a competitor. 

Transparency is also key in this phase. Clearly state what is going to happen in the hiring process and stick to it with a fast feedback loop. Ideally, once the candidate has applied, they’ll receive automated emails, assessments and other signs that the candidate experience is productive from day one. 

This is another way to ensure you’re treating every candidate the same. 

Bottom of the Funnel: Hiring Phase

This is a phase where you can really be more evidence-based in your inclusive talent acquisition approach. 

For starters, it’s all about educating your hiring managers or, even moreso, your entire organisation on the importance of inclusion. But how?

  • Speak in numbers. How much time will people get back? How much money will it save? Many members of the organisation simply need the bottom line. It’s what they’re used to. 
  • Ask hiring managers for feedback. How is the current process directly impacting them? What’s in it for them and their daily work?
  • Kill the C/V! Use objective screening methods instead, whether it’s psychometric assessments or digital interviews. Get the human recruiter brain involved further down the line. Hands off as soon as possible! 
  • Stay consistent. Ask the same exact interview questions to every candidate and have a data-driven way to assess those answers to statistically combine your information.

Questions From the Audience

I find age is still a huge issue. People are concerned older applicants will retire within 2-3 years. How can we be sure we aren’t being ageist and including older populations? 

  • When working data-driven from the start with talent attraction, age isn’t even a factor in the equation. Everyone with the right potential will be allowed into the funnel! 

Top Three Takeaways

From Sara: 

  • Start at the top of the funnel by working data-driven with your TA and recruitment marketing. Use behavioural targeting as your source for an inclusive social media job ad strategy. 
  • The best recruitment marketing is unbiased and able to leverage innovations like social media, AI and data-driven decision making to make the right bet from the start. 
  • By demonstrating some of the TA tools and technologies, you can convert and hire candidates who will make your diversity & inclusion statement a reality. 

From Linnea:

  • What gets measured gets done. Start targeting your diversity & inclusion goals and measure your success
  • The more structure you add to the process, the less gut feeling you will end up using. 
  • Start small and start tomorrow. It could be one new interview question or demoing one new tool, but take one step now. 

We Can’t Afford to Be Unconscious Anymore

When it comes to inclusion in 2022, it’s time to open our eyes. Don’t be shy. Don’t feign “unconscious bias.” DO Act now. 

You have the opportunity to test the tools that change the TA game and walk the talk of diversity and inclusion for your organisation. 

Remember: the future of TA depends on it.