Hire Diverse Talent with an Improved Candidate Experience

In this article, we’ll share six steps to make DEI a priority in your candidate experience.
Recruiter conducting an interview

The candidate experience is reflective of an individual’s feelings and thoughts when going through an organization’s hiring processes. It includes all interactions as they move through the candidate funnel, including the first time they hear of a company, ongoing communication throughout the application and interview process, the interview itself, and the offer and rejection experience.


A candidate’s experience can either boost or negatively impact the applicant’s perspective of the company. How a company represents itself online, how smoothly the interview process went and how a candidate was treated throughout the entire experience dictates a person’s perception of the company itself.


Considering that 66 percent of US candidates are likely to refer their network to a company based on a positive candidate experience and 52 percent choose to share their negative experiences with others, it’s vital for a company to invest in making the candidate experience the best it can be.



The Candidate Experience and Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI)


An employer’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) initiatives continue to be one of the most important factors candidates consider when looking for their next employer. When evaluating a position, a company’s DEI initiatives and diversity on its interview panel are very important to an average of 55 percent of professionals. DEI is also a top consideration for candidates regardless of where they are in the hiring phase. Roughly 1 in 3 employees would not apply for a job at a company that lacks diversity in its workforce.

Companies must prioritize DEI when thinking about their candidate experience in order to attract great talent. We’ve put together six tips to help your organization do just that.


#1: Make Your Commitment to DEI Known


Your candidate experience begins the first time a candidate learns about you as an employer. Because of this, you want to make sure your careers page, employer branding content, social posts and more showcase your commitment to DEI, and provide insight into how you implement these promises. This will start the candidate experience off with the distinction that DEI is a top priority for your organization.

#2: Use Inclusive Language in Job Descriptions


When job descriptions don’t use inclusive language, it deters people from applying. They are often written in a biased or discriminatory way. For example, the post may ask for a higher level of qualifications than necessary or be written in a more masculine or feminine tone.

Biased wording is generally not intentional and can be subconscious, so you must make an active effort to create inclusive job posts. Avoid gender bias, ambiguous phrases, terms that reference ableism or ageism, like “fast-moving” and “fast-paced.”

Carefully writing and editing your job descriptions can open up the pool of candidates willing to apply for your role, and gives them the perception that your organization values inclusion.

#3: Combat Unconscious Bias During Interviews


Unconscious bias, or implicit bias, are the stereotypes and prejudices that individuals possess about certain groups but are unaware of on a conscious level. These biases have a negative impact on the hiring process. There are many examples of unconscious bias but each must be understood in order to successfully combat them throughout the interview process.


To do this, standardize your set of interview questions, make unconscious bias training mandatory for all employees who participate in interviews and build an equitable decision-making process when deciding which candidates to make an offer to.


Diverse Candidate Experience

#4: Develop a Diverse Interview Panel


If you tout diversity in your employer brand but don’t back up this commitment during the interview process, candidates likely won’t believe in the authenticity of your messaging. Having a diverse interview panel helps show that your company truly does have a diverse workforce. Also, having a diverse interview panel can help combat unconscious bias by having a broader range of viewpoints involved in the decision-making process.


#5: Build an Equitable Interview Process


Each candidate will have areas of strength, and an equitable interview process allows candidates to shine based on their specific skill set. Consider how interviews can be structured to assess and meet candidates where they are so that their strengths can be showcased. For example, some candidates might be strong at behavioral questions but less adept at technical skills, or vice versa. Others might not have the exact skill set you’re looking for, but they might be able to grow into the role. Assess your current interview structure to determine areas for improvement that can make it more equitable and inclusive.


Also, it’s important to have a check-and-balance process during the decision-making phase. When candidates are being evaluated, it’s ideal to have a talent acquisition professional sitting in the room with the hiring managers and decision makers. That way, any unconscious bias can be identified and dealt with as it arises.


#6: Be Prepared to Speak to DEI Efforts in Detail


More and more candidates are asking about a company’s DEI programs within interview conversations. Make sure both recruiters and hiring managers can authentically speak to where your company stands. And being authentic is key. Even if you have room to improve, don’t lie or obfuscate. Be upfront about where you need to improve and what your plan is for doing so. Candidates will appreciate this and be more engaged when they join your company without having to deal with unexpected surprises when your talk doesn’t line up with your walk.


Employers must continuously invest in their DEI programming regardless of their hiring cycles. Doing so will help your chances of securing great talent in the future and retaining your current workforce.



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