Inclusive Hiring: A Guide For Employers

Written by Nicola Wylie
Last updated December 12, 2022

Inclusive hiring is more than just a buzzword. In fact, there are some very real business benefits for employers that prioritise diversity and inclusion in recruiting. Diverse companies that focus on racial and ethnic diversity are 36% more likely to outperform their competitors, and 83% of executives agree that a diverse workforce increases the likelihood of attracting and retaining a diverse client base. That said, just 50% of employers currently have tangible diversity programs in place, according to a Harver report.

Indeed, inclusive hiring practices don’t just benefit business results. It’s also an important aspect of employer branding. According to The Manifest, 70% of job seekers consider an organisation’s commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion an important factor when choosing an employer.

With so much at stake, it’s time for employers to evaluate their organisation’s recruitment process. This quick guide on inclusive hiring covers everything you need to know about inclusive hiring practices and promoting diversity in your business.

What Is Inclusive Hiring?

Inclusive recruiting is a broad term that covers the process of attracting and employing a diverse pool of talent to your business. It is a series of measures, processes, practices, and behaviours that promotes a culture of diverse hiring and eliminates unconscious bias from the hiring process.

According to Robert Walters, 81% of employers acknowledge that unconscious bias has an impact on hiring decisions. As the name suggests, most employers and recruiters are unaware of their own prejudices and biases. As a result, this impacts their decision-making when it comes to attracting and employing new staff. 

At its core, inclusive hiring is the process of removing unconscious bias from the recruitment process and taking actionable steps to include a more diverse range of candidates in the hiring process. 

Why Does Inclusive Hiring Matter?

Before we look at how to hire inclusively, let’s first cover why you should.

Workplace discrimination is illegal. Adopting inclusive hiring practices in your business will ensure that your business avoids discrimination. This is protected under the Equality Act 2010. To avoid breaching the Equality Act, all UK businesses should ensure their hiring practices actively avoid discrimination. 

Organisations that don’t comply with the Equality Act 2010 will suffer irreparable damage to their reputation and employer branding. 

So, how does the Equality Act 2010 support employers with inclusive hiring?

Sections 149-156 of the Act cover the Public Sector Equality Duty. This underscores the requirement for public sector organisations to “advance equality of opportunity”. The best way to achieve this is through adopting inclusive hiring practices.

Sections 158-159 of the Act set provisions for Positive Action. This enables employers to implement additional measures to boost the recruitment of underrepresented groups. For instance, targeted careers fairs in communities with large numbers of ethnic minority people.

Inclusive recruitment is the only real way to diversify the workplace. Employers that don’t implement inclusive recruitment practices are likely to be less diverse. This, in turn, will affect business performance. 

As we have already seen, diverse companies consistently outperform their competitors. For example, team collaboration is 57% better in companies that score highly for D&I.

As skill shortages in the UK continue to rise, employing from a larger, more diverse talent pool could be a viable solution. 

The Benefits Of Inclusive Hiring

Here are some of the top advantages of implementing an inclusive recruitment process in your business.

  • Boost employer branding efforts: Diversity, equity, and inclusion matter to jobseekers. Therefore, if you want to attract the best people to your business, you need to showcase your commitment to DEI. Remember, actions speak louder than words.
  • Brand reputation: Inclusive hiring leads to diverse teams. This will speak volumes about your brand. Companies that demonstrate their commitment to fostering an inclusive workplace with a diverse workforce will garner more customer respect, trust, and loyalty.
  • Higher performance: Diverse teams bring fresh ideas, new perspectives, and superior levels of collaboration. This results in better team performance and overall business results.
  • Better retention rates: Companies that value inclusivity boast 19% higher retention rates than their competitors. This can save the business considerable time, money, and resources on recruiting and training new staff.
  • Diverse client base: Diverse companies are better positioned to appeal to a more diverse client base. As such, the brand can tap into new markets and connect with a wider audience.

How To Implement An Inclusive Hiring Process

Here are some ways you can adopt an inclusive recruiting process in your organisation.

1. Start with training

The best way to tackle unconscious bias in your business is by providing training. In an ideal world, all employees should be given access to regular training on the topic. However, it’s especially crucial that managers and recruitment specialists are trained on how to identify and avoid unconscious bias during the recruitment process.

Transparency is key. Communicate the reasons for the training to all staff and be clear about the expectations and impact the training will have on the business. The training should also cover who employees should speak to if an issue related to discrimination occurs at work.

2. Re-write your job descriptions

Inclusive hiring can only take place if you attract diverse candidates. As such, you may need to re-evaluate your job descriptions.

Start by scanning job descriptions and other recruitment materials for non-inclusive language. For example, look out for gendered language and replace ‘he’ or ‘him’ with ‘they’ and ‘them’. It’s not just pronouns that need to be reworked. Certain gender-coded adjectives (assertive, competitive, aggressive, etc.) are associated with masculinity. These should be replaced with more neutral terms to create more gender-neutral job descriptions.

3. Review your employer branding efforts

If you want diverse jobseekers to feel welcome and comfortable, you may want to consider reviewing your employer branding initiatives. Inclusivity starts from within. So, make sure your business is actively promoting diversity and inclusion internally. This includes training, company events, workshops, and putting transparent DEI policies in place.

In a nutshell, your organisation will attract more diverse candidates if it already has an inclusive company culture. Here are some ways to showcase inclusivity:

  • Update images: Replace stock images on employer branding materials and your website with real photos of team members
  • Share D&I plans: Create a dedicated section on your website and employer branding materials to outline your organisation’s D&I initiatives, goals, and actions
  • Let your employees do the talking: Include real employee testimonials to show potential employees what it’s like to work in your business
  • Get active online: Share your D&I accomplishments and vision on social media and the company blog

4. Overhaul the hiring process

From CV gaps to societal obstacles, there are many barriers that stop talented individuals from applying for jobs. Overhauling the recruitment process can tear down some of these barriers and create a more equal playing field.

Here are ways to create a more inclusive process:

  • Adopt a competency-based recruitment process: Some candidates may struggle to showcase their skills on their CVs. Focusing on competencies gives them a better chance of being able to highlight their transferable skills. Be accepting of candidates who have learned valuable skills in unconventional ways (from parenting, prison, religious groups, etc.).
  • Implement structured interview techniques: Remove bias from the interview process by adopting a consistent set of questions and interview techniques. Opting for behaviour-based interview questions and focusing on values can help recruitment teams to be more objective.
  • Include more people in the process: Including a diverse panel of interviewers will create a more inclusive interview process that is less likely to be skewed by personal bias. Plus, candidates will feel more comfortable if they see a wide range of representation during the hiring process.
  • Be open-minded to non-traditional career paths: Not everyone has access to the same opportunities in life. However, that doesn’t mean they are any less capable. Try considering candidates from less traditional career paths. For instance, career changers, homeless workers, older workers, or candidates who studied in a different field.
  • Be flexible: Consider what type of candidates your application process works well for and who may need adjustments. For instance, people with dyslexia may prefer to submit a short video rather than a written cover letter. Other candidates may need a braille version of the application process or a sign-language interpreter for the interview.
  • Use tools to banish bias: There are specific tools that can help you build an inclusive hiring process. For instance, they can remove names and images from LinkedIn profiles or make CVs anonymous. 

5. Set inclusive hiring goals and metrics

While inclusive recruiting is certainly not a box-ticking exercise, you should have clear, tangible metrics in place. For instance, you could start by ensuring that 50% of the candidates you reach out to are from an ethnic minority, are women, or do not have a university degree. The exact metrics you choose will depend on what your organisation’s D&I goals are. 

6. Prioritise employee referrals

If you already have a diverse workforce and you want to build on it, you may want to make sure your employee referral programme is working well. Employees from within the business are likely to have connections from their communities. This can help your organisation reach a wider net of diverse candidates. Plus, your employees can become advocates for your business by attesting to the inclusive nature of your company culture.

Give your employee referral programme a push by explaining what your goals are and offering employees relevant incentives. 

7. Attend careers events in underrepresented communities 

Attending events in the communities you want to hire in will enable you to connect with diverse jobseekers. This includes attending networking events, careers fairs, and conferences in these areas. For instance, if you want to attract more older workers to your business, attending dedicated events will give you access to a bigger talent pool of mature jobseekers

You can also choose to advertise on dedicated job boards. For instance, our career change job board can help your organisation connect with talented career changers and older workers. 

How Refreshing A Career Can Help You With Inclusive Hiring

Having expert advice is essential when implementing an inclusive recruitment process. Here’s how our team of experts can help your business:

Our employer resource hub is packed with guides on everything from funding to training to help you build an inclusive workplace

Be sure to browse our range of employer services, including advertising your roles on our dedicated career change jobs board.

For more information, give us a call at 0345 872 4501 or send an email to

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Last Updated: Monday December 19 2022
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