3 steps to ensure a diverse and inclusive recruitment process – a short guide for GCs

3 steps to ensure a diverse and inclusive recruitment process – a short guide for GCs

Diversity and inclusion is now rightly a priority for most leadership teams, but one area which is often looked is the recruitment stage. Companies which genuinely embrace diverse and inclusive workplace cultures must ensure they have a talent acquisition process in place which enables them to meet those goals. 

Not only is a diverse and inclusive hiring strategy best practice, it also ensures full compliance with legal requirements for employers, in line with the Equality Act 2010.

As General Counsels, it falls to you to ensure compliance and managed risk for everyone in the business, leading from the front when it comes to best practices. The way in which your organisation recruits is no exception. 

Here are three ways General Counsels can ensure a diverse and inclusive recruitment process.


1.     Refine the job application process and be aware of unconscious bias

Exclusion can occur even before a job is advertised, with factors such as who has previously been in the role, who the manager envisages doing the job, or what fits the current situation all influencing the recruitment process. 

As such, ‘unconscious bias’ can really drive how a job profile is created and how it is shared.

Recruitment should always be about reaching out to as many people as possible. However, elements that can cause exclusion, discrimination or reduce the diversity of the candidate pool include:

  • Advertising only in industry-specific publications/websites
  • Working with a recruiter without including diversity requirements in the brief
  • Not being clear on any available flexible working arrangements
  • ‘One-click’ to submit a CV, with no option to contextualise experience or skills
  • Not wording job descriptions with an inclusive mindset and using gendered language and criteria which have been proven to appeal more to males/females.  For example, ‘competitiveness’, ‘assertiveness’ or ‘driven’ are all words which are known to be more appealing to men. That is not to say that women, trans and non-binary people cannot identify with these characteristics, but research shows they are less likely to describe themselves in this way. As such, it is important to ensure that language in job descriptions and adverts is gender-neutral.


2.     Offer reasonable adjustments as part of the interview process

Some candidates may need reasonable adjustments to make their recruitment experience more inclusive, which could be anything from extra time to complete a task to a sign-language interpreter. This is particularly relevant for candidates who have a learning difficulty or disability. It’s important to make sure any job advert has a clear statement about disability and a process which is simple and does not put the burden on the disabled person. 


3.     Streamline the shortlisting process

 Shortlisting job applicants is a time-consuming process, and unconscious bias can have a significant impact if this stage is poorly managed.

 Aspects that can cause exclusion, discrimination or reduce the diversity of the candidate pool in shortlisting are:

  • Only one person making shortlisting decisions in isolation
  • Reliance on particular assessments
  • Rushing through high volumes due to lack of resource
  • Lack of inclusion training: it is worth noting that the liability for any discrimination will most likely fall to the employer and can result in hefty financial burden at an employment tribunal. 

 In summary, this stage must never be rushed or handled by any staff who don’t have the requisite training.


At Leonid, we take an inclusive approach from the offset, advising our clients on how to best present their job descriptions in a fair and inclusive manner. We also provide video shortlists of candidates – 5-10 minute recordings with a Leonid consultant - which provides a much clearer and rounded picture than a one-dimensional CV and also enables hiring managers to share the recordings with their wider team, which means shortlisting is never done in isolation.  These video shortlist not only save a huge amount of time in the hiring process, but also give candidates the opportunity to present their true selves, including personality traits and softer skills which cannot be gleaned from a CV alone.


You can find out more about our bespoke video shortlist service – LeonidLive – here.