The interview

You’ve contacted your shortlist and you’re one step closer to finding the ideal fit for your roles. But, unless your interview processes are DEI-focused, you won’t be giving off the best impression - and you could lose out on top talent if they have multiple options on the table (a likely scenario in today’s candidate-driven market!). 

Here are some key, yet simple, tips on how to make your interview process more inclusive.

1. Diversify the interview panel

It’s no secret that having an interview panel (instead of a single interviewer) can provide a range of benefits. Different perspectives combine to create a more well-rounded process, giving you the best chance of hiring the right person.

However, in order to ensure DEI is at the forefront of your interview process, you need to go further than simply ‘having more than one interviewer’. You must ensure your panel is diverse to achieve a truly well-rounded interview that’s fair and built with inclusivity in mind.

From age to gender to race, try to make sure multiple groups are featured. This will not only achieve the broader perspective you’re looking for, but will also signal to candidates that your company genuinely cares about DEI.

Polaroids image with collaged facial sections of a diverse range of people.
Talent Branded glitchy image of woman looking over her shoulder.

2. Provide regular interview training

So, you’ve just started interviewing someone and instantly feel a click. Perhaps you grew up in the same area, or have established similar interests via small talk before questions begin? No matter your common ground, we’ve all experienced that moment of thinking ‘wow, this candidate is the perfect fit!’.

But, if this ‘perfect fit’ feeling is based solely on a personal connection with them, it’s important to take a step back. Interviews like this could be swayed by affinity bias i.e. feeling most drawn to candidates who you feel are ‘just like you’. It’s no secret that like attracts like, but it’s key not to let this aspect of human nature affect your overall hiring decision.

As a result, regular training sessions with the goal of counteracting unconscious bias is crucial to keep your interviews as fair and inclusive as possible. Affinity bias is just one of a range of biases to keep in check.

pt.2 belonging

3. Standardise your interviews

Make sure to ask all candidates the same questions in the same order. Creating a standardised process helps reduce bias and ensures everyone is being treated equally and fairly.

There are plenty of research studies that demonstrate the benefits of standardised interviews too. One study involving 20,000 applicants found that, when structured and unstructured interviews were compared, structured interviews minimised the potential influence of demographic characteristics or backgrounds. That is, standardised interviews were much more resistant to bias - supporting the idea that they are a fairer method of hiring.

4. Try to create an inclusive interview environment

Interviews can feel nerve-wracking at the best of times. If a candidate, however, is concerned about mobility issues, uses visual/hearing aids, or has potential problems with reading or writing, they’re highly likely to feel even more uncomfortable - especially if they don’t know what the interview will involve. So, unless you address and outline your process from the outset, you won’t be coming across like a supportive or inclusive workplace.

When reaching out to candidates inviting them for an interview, be sure to describe what is going to be involved - in addition to location accessibility/any aids you can provide from the outset. Always ask if there are specific adjustments a candidate requires in order to attend and complete the interview successfully.

This isn’t only limited to physical in-person interviews either. Even if you’re conducting an interview virtually, be sure to check-in regarding visual or audio requirements prior to the day. You could also run a test before the interview to ensure candidates are at ease.

5. Ask for feedback

It’s always important to be open to change, which is why asking for feedback (and adjusting your process accordingly) will be hugely helpful. After all, how can you gain a true understanding of candidate experience if you don’t ask them for their thoughts? 

Send out a post-interview survey for interviewed candidates to fill out, with questions specifically related to DEI. Results will indicate how they felt about their overall experience, and whether or not they feel your process was inclusive enough. You can then use this information to make adjustments, ensuring your interviews remain DEI-focused and keep up with what candidates require. 

It’s important to ask for feedback from both successful and unsuccessful candidates, too. This will help you get a well-rounded range of responses without being skewed.

onto the next stage