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Five ways to support hiring managers in inclusive recruitment

Written by: RICS Recruit
Published on: 11 Apr 2024

HR can help managers unfamiliar with the hiring process or inclusivity

For hiring managers, the main aim of the recruitment process is to find the right candidate for their team.

To do this, they may use tried and tested methods or look to hire someone similar to the person who is leaving. However, these are likely to mean they recruit the same type of person into their team time and again. This often conflicts with HR practitioners’ efforts to make recruitment inclusive.

RICS membership diversity, equity and inclusion manager Tomi Laguda recommends: ‘The hiring process should look to widen the talent pool. Internal and external options should both be explored.’

When hiring internally, it’s important to encourage employees who haven’t seen people like them – whether in terms of gender, ethnicity or cultural background – to apply for senior roles at the company.

One starting point for solving this problem is talking to your hiring managers about the benefits of incorporating inclusive practices. For instance, such practices can attract better talent, with 76% of jobseekers saying they reviewed a company’s diversity when considering an offer.

To take just one of the many ways that companies could improve diversity, one US survey found only 42% of managers felt confident having meaningful conversations about race in their teams. Tomi says: ‘To help hiring managers overcome challenges around diversity and support hiring managers, HR colleagues need to offer them extra practical support, beyond the standard administrative tasks.’

Holding hiring managers accountable for selecting diverse candidates at the interview stage is also important, with 47% of talent professionals telling LinkedIn in 2020 that this wasn’t the case.

Open conversations support hiring managers

The best starting point for diverse recruitment is for HR practitioners to have open conversations with hiring managers. During these conversations, it’s important to make clear that:

  • everyone has unconscious bias – it’s not a slight on an individual
  • if you challenge people’s assumptions and decisions, you’re doing so to understand exactly what they need and help them find the best candidate for the role
  • you’ll be taking a skills-based rather than traits-based hiring approach to ensure the new hire provides the expertise the team needs
  • you’ll need their input at specific points of the recruitment process – it can be helpful to set times and clear expectations for this – because finding the right person is as much their responsibility as yours
  • RICS diversity and inclusion training can be offered, which is free for members who have either the qualification or CPD support packages
  • the skills and experience requirements that the hiring manager supplies to the team creating the job advert should be relevant and necessary, and not exclude the right candidate.

As well as communicating these expectations, offering practical advice and help ensures hiring managers feel confident about taking on a new, inclusive recruitment approach.

1. Remain aware of unconscious bias

Even if a hiring manager takes regular training about their unconscious bias, it can be difficult for them to stay aware of their partialities all the time.

So, as RICS talent acquisition manager Daniel Shakespeare explains: ‘It’s important for everyone, including hiring managers, to have peers they trust in an organisation who are empowered to share their differing views. This helps keep biases in check and encourages self-awareness across the whole team.’

2. Summarise legal obligations

Under UK recruitment law, hiring managers have particular obligations to prevent discrimination. Creating an easy-to-read summary that outlines these obligations and sharing this with your colleagues before the recruitment process starts will keep them informed and ensure their responsibilities are clear.

3. Provide interview technique training

By knowing how to question candidates, hiring managers will feel more assured during the interview process. Working with managers to set skills-based questions for every candidate, HR practitioners will help them stay consistent.

Taking interview technique training will also ensure interviewers give the best impression of the business. LinkedIn Learning offers a high-quality course, Diversity recruiting: recruiting done well, that’s easy for managers to access.

4. Select a diverse panel

‘If a business is using inclusive recruitment processes, then it follows that their interview panels will be diverse,’ Daniel explains. ‘In any case, having colleagues from other departments who will work alongside the new hire is important.

‘For example, if you’re hiring a marketing executive who has stakeholders in the sales team, having a representative from this department means they can give their perspective on whether that candidate has the right skill sets to support their team too.’

5. Scorecards offer support

Scorecards will help hiring managers be consistently objective in their judgement of candidates. If HR practitioners work with them to create a scorecard that covers all the skills they’re looking for, it will encourage hiring managers to trust and use them.

Involving hiring managers in implementing more inclusive practices such as these will promote their gradual adoption across the business.