Top 10 ways to make your recruitment processes more inclusive

Recruitment processes are currently under the spotlight in the charity sector, as leaders seek to tackle a lack of diversity across workforces.

Recent threads on Twitter have garnered extra attention, so too have accounts dedicated to calling out bad recruitment within the charity sector.

So, what can be done to make recruitment practices more inclusive for all? We round up our top 10 tips:

1. Show the salary
Launched in 2020, the show the salary campaign aimed to make charities do just that. It spurred on campaigns on other countries and hundreds of organisations signed the pledge. By showing the salary on job adverts, it helps to prevent discriminatory or unequal pay and genuinely makes roles more competitive – rather than using the typical “competitive salary” statement, which likely means the salary is in fact, not competitive. If people know what the salary is, it encourages more applications, allows people to work out if they can afford the role before they get to an interview stage and encourage more diverse hiring.

2. Don’t list qualifications in the job or person spec
Access to education, particularly higher education, is not a level playing field and by limiting your staff to those with degrees, A-Levels or even GCSE’s, you’re cutting off a whole host of talented individuals. Almost one in five young people in England leave school without ‘good’ GCSEs, but this doesn’t mean they are unable to become successful staff members.

Twitter accounts @NonGradsWelcome and @CrapRecruitment do great work explaining why these qualifications aren’t necessary and showcasing both bad, and good, practice.

3. Offer flexible working
Covid-19 proved that flexible working within the charity sector is possible, so there’s no reason why this shouldn’t be the case post-pandemic. By offering flexible working from the get-go, you can hire from across the country (or world) and reach exceptional candidates outside of the London bubble. It also opens up opportunities for disabled people, parents and those who might not be able to afford commuting into an office – after all, charities aren’t known for their above-market salaries.

This thread talks about flexible working and why if you’re saying no for any of these seven reasons, you might start losing staff. Meanwhile, this account shares good and bad practice on flexible working within the sector.

4. Share interview questions in advance
If you’ve never worked in the charity sector, it’s your first job or have connections, then its much harder to prep for an interview. It also makes the interview process more accessible for neurodivergent applicants and those with difficulty processing information. There is no reason why someone shouldn’t be able to prepare well beforehand. Not everyone comes across well when put on the spot and it’s very likely a skill they wouldn’t need in their role.

5. Don’t use alienating language
Avoid jargon language like ‘natural leader’, ‘well-connected’ and ‘natural gravitas’. Many of these phrases are used to signal you want middle class, often men, in the role and will prevent others from applying if they think they don’t have these attributes. Many people will, it can just take the right role to bring it out of them.

6. No experience necessary
If you're recruiting into a middle-class sector and or role then requiring previous experience is going to limit diversity immediately. Hire for skills and potential rather than exact previous experience, many roles outside of the third sector have transferable skills and experience in fundraising or similar won’t be needed.

7. Make your adverts and application process inclusive
Make your job descriptions and application process inclusive. There are so many simple steps you can make, @AbilityNet has some great advice. Simple steps include providing a telephone number and email for contact. Not everyone can type out a written application, or may have questions about accessibility in the office (or virtually).

8. Not everyone needs a driving licence
People have managed to navigate cities for many years without a driving licence, using public transport doesn’t mean someone can’t do the job. It also excludes a whole host of people who cannot drive for whatever reason, epilepsy, disabilities or even because they don’t have the money to learn to drive or run a car. Driving is a privilege for many.

9. Stick to the closing date
Job hunting is hard. It takes both time and dedication. By moving the goal posts and changing deadlines, organisations disadvantage candidates who might not have free time to check ads every day and apply there and then. They could have caring responsibilities or disabilities that mean they need more time to craft applications. Or, just have other things going on in their life. A good application takes time, give them that.

10. Stop and think
A lot of people might think that these should be a given, but you’ll be surprised at how many jobs offer none of these practices – give your job applications a look and see what you can spot. If you just pause on your recruitment and think about the decisions you're making you'll realise how damaging and discriminatory some of them are. Changing these could be an easy, firsts step to a more diverse workplace.

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