How can we create a more inclusive recruitment process?

19 Feb 2019

At SSE, we’re proud to have signed up to the Inclusive Culture Pledge in 2018. This was a great moment for us, standing up for what we believe in, but the work certainly doesn’t stop there. If anything, signing up to this pledge has made us even less satisfied to sit on our laurels. Which is why, over the past few months, we’ve been investigating how we can make incremental improvements to nurture the inclusive culture at SSE.

One area where big shifts can be made is in our recruitment practices. Happily, social enterprises are popping up left, right and centre, bringing innovative solutions to things like unconscious (or conscious!) bias, or the language we use in job descriptions. Without even realising it, the way we describe ourselves or the way we read a job application can have dramatic effects on encouraging or discouraging diversity within organisations. And something we’re certain of is how boring it is to multiply in our own image.

Along our journey of discovery we’ve accumulated lots of tips and tools – so many that we thought we’d start compiling them. (If you’ve got any to add to the pile please send them our way – once we have a full picture of what’s out there this post could get polished and published in our Resources section!)

For checking your language:

Paste your job ad into Gender Decoder and it’ll show the gender-coded language you’ve used, so you can decide what to do with it.

Similarly, Textio helps you to create job listings that remove unconscious bias and are engaging for a diverse set of candidates.

For shaking up your recruitment process:

SSE fellows Evenbreak match disabled job seekers with employers looking to build a diverse workforce.

Rare Recruitment focuses on social mobility. They’ve developed a sophisticated Contextual Recruitment System to help candidates with unusual backgrounds, education or career paths to shine through.

BeApplied helps remove unconscious bias in assessors by providing a recruitment platform that skips details like name, age, gender and photographs of applicants.

A Google Chrome extension called Unbias Me is available to help when reviewing job candidates’ online materials. It cleverly hides a candidate’s profile picture and name when you’re looking at their LinkedIn page or Twitter feed.

Timewise lists quality flexible roles, therefore attracting candidates with care responsibilities.

Working Chance is a recruitment consultancy for women leaving the criminal justice or care systems.

Breaking Barriers supports refugees into work placement and employed positions.

To break away from the usual jobs boards, try these:

For women candidates:

For ethnic minority candidates

For disability candidates

For LGBTQ+ candidates

Much of the above came from the Diversity Forum Toolkit; a fountain of knowledge on this subject and more. You can download it here.


Update 14th May:

Also check out myworkhive, a social enterprise which helps people – especially parents, carers and those who’ve been out of work – find flexible and remote jobs. It was founded by SSE fellow Lucy Elkin.


By Emily Vermont, SSE’s network manager. Share your reflections on this blog with Emily on Twitter @eavermont and @SchSocEnt