Hiring efforts are changing as the collective realizes that we have to unpack how systems of oppression impact organizations and companies internally. I personally have many horror stories of going through recruitment processes as a WOC (woman of color) that I could share with you, but I want to focus your attention on looking at how hiring systems need to be revamped through an equity lens.

Now, I am sure you are thinking, “how in the world do I change a recruitment system that has been embedded into my brain this long?” Well, first of all, remember that change takes time to implement and takes longer. According to Healthline, it can take anywhere from 18-254 days to form a new habit and can take even longer to make that habit stick. Clearly, it will take longer than 254 days to change an entire system internally. I invite you to let go of any outcomes or deadlines in executing an equitable hiring process perfectly. Remember changing an entire process will require planning, refinement, and patience. Below, is a breakdown of how you can start implementing an equitable hiring process with your team in 5 (easy) steps. Keep in mind that planning is the easy part. However, the maintenance and refinement stages of this process is where it can get challenging. (If you would like further support with this implementation, set up a Deep Dive Meeting with me to see how I can support you.)

Step 1: Finding your why. 

I have often found that if you do not have a purpose for making a change, then you are more than likely to revert back to old patterns. Therefore, the most crucial step in creating an equitable hiring process is finding your why. Ask yourself the following questions: What is the purpose of creating and implementing an equitable hiring process at your company? What are the benefits of this new system? What will your organization gain for making this change? How will this change impact the company’s future? Use these prompts to generate your why and develop a strong purpose statement for fostering this change in your hiring system. (Also, you can use these to lead a discussion with your team and get their perspective on this topic.)

Step 2: Set the standard for inclusivity . (Do not just focus solely on goals/outcomes of this new recruitment process). 

After you have come up with your “why” behind creating an equitable hiring process. Then you will need to figure out how this process will be upheld by all.You might want to take a look at your policies (eg. DEIJ or Recruitment) and your procedures. How will folks keep themselves and each other accountable? Are your job descriptions inclusive? What does the application process look like for candidates? You can create a tentative standard that has a list of goals of how you want the process to be carried out and refer back to any DEIJ (Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Justice) initiatives that you set at your company previously. This standard can be a work in progress and always be refined as you go. 

Step 3: Beware of the Dangers of Cultural fit! Instead, think about “alignment”. 

I cannot tell you how many times I have heard clients talk about finding the right “fit” when it comes to hiring. There are dangers to wanting candidates who “fit” with your organization, because it leaves little room for candidates who are different. I understand that you want to bring on new hires that can easily transition into the culture of the workplace, but I want to challenge you on that thought process. Why not look at alignment with the organization instead? You can determine if a candidate is more aligned with how the organization operates, the goals the company is striving to achieve, and how decisions are made. Another way of bringing more awareness to alignment in your candidate search is to reflect on your team dynamics (organization as a whole). What skills are missing or lacking on your team? Who is not in the room? What do you have too much of within your company? You can clearly start to look at these missing elements of your organization or team, and then see how you can bring more balance through your hiring efforts. 

Step 4: Write and map-out your hiring processes, afterwards spend time in reflection.

This step is pretty simple, think of this like a mini audit. Sit down with a cup of coffee and with any members of your team who handles hiring at your company. Then begin to map out the beginning, middle, and end of the entire recruitment process. Next, discuss further with your team about this current process by asking the following questions: What areas are lacking? What parts need to be removed? Where can you make some improvements? Where can you be more inclusive? What does the interview process look like? Who is participating in recruitment? Who is not? If not, why not?

Step 5: Create a guide or put all hiring items in one place (edit, refine, repeat).

Lastly, it is essential to have a location for all of these items to be kept and accessible. I always suggest to my clients to create a guide, procedure, or manual to keep themselves organized with their hiring processes. You will be able to refer back to your purpose statement, hiring, and interviewing material all in one place. If you use hiring committees in your organization, this will make coordination easier. Remember, you can always update these materials moving forward. 

Things to remember as you practice these steps at your organization: 

  1. It will not be an easy transition for you, your HR Team, nor your leadership staff. That is why you have referred back to your why. (Share the why with your team, this will help them understand where you are headed with this change.)
  2. Treat this implementation of an equitable hiring process as an experiment. You can focus on gathering intel on how this is working or not working. Then, begin taking any necessary action to make improvements. 
  3. Gather feedback from employees who have been through your existing hiring process and learn from their experiences. (Do this with new hires too, especially after 90 days.)

I hope you find these tips helpful as you start to redesign your hiring and interviewing process to make it more equitable. This is a journey and will continue to evolve as your organization grows. I enjoy sharing my expertise and I want to provide you with as much information as I can to take your HR & operations to the next level.

Get in touch with me if you need further support or training in implementing an equitable hiring system for your organization. 

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