basic ingredients to foster diversity in selection

Previously, we’ve discussed the pivotal role of recruitment in fostering workforce diversity. Now, it is time to look at employee selection and how to avoid overlooking diverse candidates.  

Rethink CV screening 

CVs are the go-to initial selection tool, yet they often fall short. Why? CVs are replete with irrelevant information that can easily trigger biases. Think of age, photo, marital status, home address, or specific alma mater. Even years of experience, a frequent screening criterion, falls short in predicting job performance. The combination of these two points impacts diversity: on the one hand, you are missing out on good candidates, and on the other, you might reject diverse ones due to biases!  

A better alternative to CVs are Application Forms with targeted questions aligned with job-relevant criteria, leaving the rest behind. Explore integrating the application form with LinkedIn to streamline the data entry process, thereby reducing the manual input required from candidates.

For those not quite ready to part ways with CVs, here are steps to enhance the screening process: 

  • Anonymize CVs before screening, eliminating any personal information. 
  • Define clear and objective screening criteria (e.g., specific responsibilities, certifications, languages). 
  • Refrain from passing judgment on formatting issues (e.g., spelling mistakes or visual layout) – if these are relevant, introduce a dedicated assessment!

Ditch “hiring for fit” 

So often, we seek someone who fits well with our culture or the team. In the best case, this means that we’re looking for someone who mirrors the existing employees – which logically reduces the diversity of new hires. In the worst case, 'fit' remains undefined, known only to hiring managers who claim to recognize it when they see it. This lack of clarity is usually a perfect cover for all sorts of biases that hurt diversity.  

  • Instead of chasing an elusive fit, define it: What are you truly seeking, and how does it enhance job performance? 
  • Consider qualities like learning ability and ’openness’, which help people accept each other and learn how to work together. They might be a better alternative than fit. 
  • You can also challenge fit by looking for complementary fit - unique attributes complement the existing team, or even anti-fit - actively seeking diverse attributes. 

To learn more about hiring for cultural fit, and what's a better alternative, watch this insightful video.

Leverage psychometric tests 

A wealth of valid and reliable psychometric tests is available, and they (should) include information about how they work in diverse candidate pools. The best of these instruments, which measure characteristics directly relevant to job performance, maintain objectivity without unfairly disadvantaging diverse candidates. Explore personality assessments grounded in the Big5 or HEXACO models to enhance your evaluation process. 

These concise tips can help you enhance diversity in your selection practices. It’s up to you to start implementing them!