7 Ways to Improve DEI in Your Hiring Process

Nearly three years removed from the DEI reckoning of summer 2020, when George Floyd and #BLM were dominating headlines, we in the corporate world still have a lot of work to do.

Meanwhile, the interest in DEI remains high, which gives me hope. Over the past year, we’ve experienced an increase in questions about DEI in the initial interview stage. I have even had candidates ask me what my experience has been like at JDM as a POC, which is amazing and gives me a lot of pride in the progress we’ve made in the corporate world. 🫶

Hiring, from the time you post a job all the way through the interview process, is one of the highest-leverage initiatives you have for improving DEI at your company. At JDM, we’ve learned seven important lessons as we strive to make our hiring process more DEI-friendly.

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1. Include DEI Q&A's in the Interview

Prep your interviewers AND give candidates the opportunity to ask questions related to DEI. People want to know what the company is doing to improve DEI, and they want to know how it impacts the company’s culture. Expect questions like: What are you doing to acknowledge Black History Month? What changes have you made to your application process to be more inclusive?

There’s probably a lot going on behind the scenes that your interviewers may not be aware of, so make sure they know what’s going on in your company before they conduct their interviews. 


2. Add Your Diversity Statement to Job Postings

Include a diversity statement in your job posting to help set the tone for the applicants. That said, don’t just do lip service; when you include a diversity statement, please make sure it’s one the Company can stand behind with actual, tangible commitments and measurables.


3. Use Gender-neutral Language in Job Postings

Make sure your job posting has gender-neutral language, focuses on measurable skills that are required to get the job done, and avoids soft skills that are subject to interpretation. Note there are software and services, like Datapeople, UInclude, or Textio, that can help you rework your job descriptions.

Remember that word choices can greatly impact the application pool – certain words, for instance, can have more masculine or feminine connotations.


4. Provide Anti-Bias & Diversity Training for Interviewers

Provide all interviewers with Anti-Bias and Diversity training, and require that they complete the training annually – standards and best practices are being updated frequently.


5. Keep the Interview Process Standard for All

Follow the same interview process for all applicants. Referrals are great, and very much appreciated, but recruiters have to exercise caution to make sure to avoid “similar to me” bias. An easy way to do this is to follow the same interview process for all applicants.

This might include giving all applicants a take-home skills test during the interview process, which allows the interviewers to focus on the candidate's skills rather than other, more subjective attributes that are more easily influenced by unconscious bias.


6. Offer Virtual Interviews

By offering virtual interviews, you’ll have greater access to a more diverse workforce and underrepresented groups


7. Turn Cameras Off for the First Interview

Take virtual interviews a step further, and turn the cameras off for the initial phone screen. It allows the interviewer to focus on what is being said. From a candidate’s perspective, it allows for a much more enjoyable experience. Candidates are able to focus on what they are saying and not on how they look or their facial expressions.

Even in today’s world, not everyone is used to being on video calls, and it can be distracting for those not used to working remotely. If you really want to knock it out of the park, consider using a platform like Zoom that has accessibility options like captioning or video spotlights. 

Making an effort to address all of these will help bring a more diverse set of candidates into your hiring pool and help mitigate DEI roadblocks along the way. If you’re interested in being part of a company looking to lead the DEI charge, keep an eye on our job postings.

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