Season 5: Innovating for impact

Build a culture for innovation, Abadesi Osunsade
Part 2 of 4

7 ways to innovative recruitment

As your company grows and you recruit more widely, leaders who wish to create an innovative workplace will need a strong foundation of diversity and inclusion. Why? Because innovative cultures breed new ideas across the team enabling businesses to quickly respond to market trends. Research from McKinsey and LeanIn shows us that companies with diverse teams are more innovative, adaptable and better equipped to meet the needs of an increasingly global customer base. And achieving true diversity and inclusivity starts with the recruitment process.

Thankfully, it’s never been easier to make recruitment more inclusive. By leveraging the latest tools and technologies, business leaders can overcome biases, expand their talent pools and create a more inclusive recruitment journey for candidates of all backgrounds.

Here are a few of my recommendations to help you get started:

  1. AI-powered Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS)
    An AI-powered ATS can revolutionise your recruitment process by automating CV screening. This means you’ll be avoiding affinity bias e.g. leaning towards candidates like you. You’ll also be reducing the impact of other unconscious biases. These systems can analyse applicants based on their skills, qualifications and experience, rather than factors like gender, ethnicity or name. By anonymising candidate information, AI ensures that each applicant is evaluated solely on their past experiences and relevant skills, promoting a more inclusive hiring process and ensuring that top talent from underrepresented backgrounds doesn’t slip through the cracks.

  2. Virtual Reality (VR) assessments
    VR simulations provide candidates with immersive experiences that mimic real-world scenarios relevant to the job. You don’t need to break the bank to leverage these tools either. Create scenarios based on past interactions to assess candidates based on their skills and abilities rather than relying solely on their CV or their responses to questions posed during interviews. VR assessments can reduce biases by testing candidates on specific requirements of the role. You can assess their abilities and performance in real time. This creates a level playing field for all applicants regardless of their background, neurodivergence or demographics; they all have a chance to demonstrate their suitability to the role.
  3. Diverse candidate sourcing platforms
    Don’t rely on the traditional careers search platform to find candidates. Instead, look to the latest solutions focused on diversity and inclusion. Innovative platforms, such as Workday and Lever, leverage AI and data analytics to identify and attract diverse talent. These tools analyse millions of data points to source candidates from various backgrounds, including underrepresented groups. By expanding the talent pool and proactively seeking out diverse candidates, your team can ensure inclusivity at every stage of the recruitment process.
  4. Gamified recruitment platforms
    Gamification injects elements of gameplay into the recruitment process, making it more engaging and inclusive. Gamified platforms, for example Seppo, are becoming increasingly popular. To give a fair chance to candidates of all backgrounds, these software solutions use games and interactive assessments to evaluate candidates’ cognitive abilities, personality traits and alignment with your team values. By relying on objective data collected through gamified assessments, recruiters can mitigate biases and identify candidates based on their potential rather than their pedigree.
  5. Natural Language Processing (NLP) for job descriptions
    NLP algorithms analyse job descriptions to identify and eliminate biased language that may discourage diverse candidates from applying. Studies show that historically marginalised groups can be deterred from applying for a job when they see bold, assertive words that imply a team has a fixed, homogenous culture. Hint: avoid “rockstar” and “ninja”!

Search online for the latest NLP tools (for example, BeApplied or Textio) and copy and paste a sample job description into them. They will identify any non-inclusive or potentially off-putting language and provide feedback on the tone and readability. Rework the job description to make it more inclusive. Follow this process for your next job advert and attract a more diverse pool of applicants.

  1. Diversity analytics platforms
    Incentivise decision-makers in your recruitment process to reach your diversity and inclusion goals by leveraging the latest People & Culture analytics platforms. Working with the HR data you plug in about your team, they offer insights into workforce demographics, hiring trends and diversity metrics. This will allow you and your leaders to track key performance indicators (KPIs) related to diversity and inclusion. HR teams can measure progress, identify areas for improvement and make data-driven decisions to enhance inclusivity in recruitment and beyond. It’s worth noting that this solution is most helpful for scaling companies and larger teams, rather than smaller businesses.
  2. Chatbots for candidate engagement
    AI-powered chatbots engage with candidates throughout the recruitment process from the first time they land on your career page through to submitting their application. By providing information, answering questions and offering support, chatbots can ensure applicants who might need more hand holding, for example, due to being second language speakers, job switchers or neurodivergent. New chatbot tools are launched on the market regularly to support SMBs, creating an equitable candidate experience to ensure that all applicants receive prompt and consistent interactions, regardless of their background or status.

Inclusive recruitment is not just about ticking boxes or meeting quotas; it’s about creating a culture of belonging where every individual feels valued, respected and empowered to contribute their unique perspectives and talents. By incorporating these innovative tools into your recruitment strategy can help you reach your inclusion goals. Be sure to approach technology adoption with care, ensuring that these tools are used ethically and align with your overall strategy.