ECCO Internatoinal

Inclusive Hiring Practices: Are They Really Inclusive?

inclusive hiring practices

As the pool of talent continues to expand, it is your job to be doing everything possible to interest that growing pool of potential candidates. Here are a few tips to get you started:

In the efforts to have inclusive hiring practices, the process has to be rethought. According to HR Drive, recruiting and hiring is the top concern for human resources professionals in 2021. If you want your team to be diverse, how you recruit and who you hire is where it starts. Then once hired, it begs the question, can we retain them? Where can you start?

First, it is important to get an understanding of the current situation. Analyze your diversity hiring data by asking:

– What are the strengths of my diversity hiring?
– What are the challenges in my diversity hiring?

Understand where you are starting from. Make tangible, measurable goals. Once you put the changes in place to reach those goals, look over the new data.

– Did you reach your goals?
– Is there room to improve? How?

Constant reflection and tracking is needed for any systemic change.

Now, if you are reading this, you probably know our work on unconscious bias. We all have Unconscious Bias; we all need to work to minimize its impact as much as we can. Your hiring practices may hold biases that you unconsciously view as the ‘norm.’

According to new findings by Harvard Business Review, through a study using incentivized resume rating at the University of Pennsylvania, they found that firms – while having diversity initiatives that create a perception of progressive inclusivity – held biases against women and minority applicants. Why? The resume reviewing process, without any oversight or objective guidelines, can allow biases to come through – regardless of the reviewer’s intention or company’s larger vision.

This is why now is the time to look at those practices with fresh eyes, to see where the ‘blind spots’ may be. Consider tools like pre-hire assessments and blind hiring that may help you in this process – however, don’t rely on these tools alone. Every step of the hiring process has to be intentional, objective and constantly tracked to see its efficacy. There is no ‘quick’ fix.

As the pool of talent continues to expand, it is your job to be doing everything possible to interest that growing pool of potential candidates.

Inclusive hiring tips to get you started:

1. Reword your job posting

– Take a look at the way you are describing the job. Words like “go-getter” or “work around the clock” can actually put off great candidates like working parents.

– Do you speak about the organization’s mission and efforts in diversity? Do you highlight possible career trajectories? What about diverse benefits packages? If this information is missing, your ideal candidate may not feel welcome.

2. Focus and inform the interviewer

– The way that people guide the interview process affects not only the candidate’s response, but the perception of your company and its culture. Interviews go both ways. When looking to create a diverse team, you have to remember that candidates are also looking to interview you.

– Create uniform, intentional questions that will be used for all candidates. This will lessen the possibility for the interviewer’s unconscious bias to come through in how – or even what – questions they ask each candidate. Also, this will help in your team’s review process.

3. Allow interview scheduling

– Provide the interviewee various times to schedule their interview via a set of provided options, instead of setting it for the middle of the day at your convenience. This will allow for candidates who are currently employed to feel at ease, as well.

4. Offer workplace flexibility

– Take a look at your current policies for work-from-home, vacations, etc. Working parents and other candidates will be more inclined to dedicate themselves to a company that values and recognizes them.

5. Eliminate unnecessary requirements

– Does that position really require an MBA, or is it just a suggestion? Do you have a GPA minimum? Why? Consider the ways in which these arbitrary requirements are limiting your pool.

6. Reconsider the college recruitment method

– Many companies like to recruit candidates right out of college. While this method makes sense, it is important to recognize that you are limiting your pool. Consider the privilege it takes to attend a four-year university. If you want to continue recruiting from a school, make the intentional effort to reach out to affinity groups on campus to get the most diverse candidate pool the school has to offer.

7. Provide paid internships

– Very few potential hires can afford to work for free, especially in our current economy. If you use internships to recruit new talent, please pay them.

8. Choose candidates that are culture ADDS, not culture FITS.

– Think about what they will add to the existing culture. Will they push your team to new heights? Think of how they add, or complement, rather than ‘fit.’

– Choose courage over comfort.

– Make sure they have a genuine curiosity and are self-aware.


If your team could benefit from learning more inclusive workplace skills, look into our online courses.

Amy S. Tolbert, Ph.D., and Certified Speaking Professional is the founder and principal of ECCO International (Energizing Cultural Change in Organizations). She specializes in creating inclusive cultures through online courses, keynote presentations, and facilitated workshops and training. She is the author of Reversing the Ostrich Approach to Diversity: Pulling Your Head Out of the Sand.

Recent Articles:

Should Diversity Training Be Illegal?

Are Your Hiring Practices Really Inclusive?

How Do Unconscious Biases Really Work? Neuroscientists have the answer.

Works Cited:

“Diversity Hiring: 6 Steps To Hiring More Diverse Candidates.” Ideal, 8 Feb. 2021,

Estrada, Sheryl. “Why a Shift in Hiring Tactics May Boost DEI Measures in 2021.” HRDive, 3 Feb. 2021,

Kim, Jennifer. “Inclusive Hiring: Why It’s Hard, Why It’s Important, and How You Can Start Making a Difference.” Medium, Awaken Blog, 12 Sept. 2020, 

Maurer, Roy. “8 Diversity Recruiting Mistakes and How to Avoid Them.” SHRM, SHRM, 28 Sept. 2020,

“Research: How Companies Committed to Diverse Hiring Still Fail.” Harvard Business Review, 11 Feb. 2021,

White, Nika. “Hire Like a Diversity Expert: 5
Key Qualities of Inclusive Employees.”
10 Jan. 2021,

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