The necessity of inclusive recruitment across your organisation

14th February 2024

Article written by Meg Shona Halpin-Webster, Graduate eLearning Content Writer at Marshall E-Learning Consultancy, a Ciphr company

Recruiting inclusively is an important choice for organisations, with some, unfortunately, failing to embed inclusivity in their processes, and some completely ignoring the need to train and enable those involved to adopt best practice. CIPD research has recently shown that only 28% of UK employers train their interviewers on the legal obligations in place and objective interview practices for their interviews, with less than a fifth (18%) making active efforts to remove bias from their job descriptions. This must be improved.

Inclusive recruitment is not simply just the right thing to do – it provides tangible benefits to your organisation. Improving recruitment processes is key to ensuring that you have access to the very best pool of candidates, and what’s more, it means that all candidates have equal access to the roles that they are qualified for and deserve to be considered for.

Why is inclusive recruitment important?

Inclusive recruitment aims to source the best candidates for a role from the widest pool of applicants using a fair and transparent process. As today’s marketplace is increasingly competitive, it’s key that organisations enable themselves to reach the highest performing candidates by broadening their search from traditional talent pools. So why is it important?

By choosing to recruit from a more diverse range of identities, cultures, backgrounds and ethnicities, organisations actually open themselves up to new perspectives, helping them develop new ways to engage with their clients or target audiences, increase their overall performance and most importantly, become a better place for employees to work.

Of course, inclusive recruitment helps employers to stay within the law and to avoid challenges at Tribunal, but the true value of a recruitment process that is inclusive is that it helps create more equitable access to job roles. Candidates that may have been previously overlooked in traditional processes, whether through lack of opportunity, barriers or biases that they may face, gain greater access.

Organisations that actively ignore the implementation of inclusive practices run the risk of losing touch, both with their employees but also with their customers’ needs. Closing your organisation off from diverse and fresh perspectives can cause a distinct lack of innovation and productivity, potentially damaging your reputation and profits.

How to mitigate unconscious bias in your recruitment and selection process

As we all have unconscious bias, it’s crucial from both an ethical and a legal standpoint to ensure that your recruitment and selection process is strong and embeds inclusive values as much as possible. Here are some top tips for reducing the chance that bias will affect the recruitment and selection process:  

Follow your process

Many organisations opt for competency-based questions and scoring systems as a way of measuring a candidate’s performance and suitability for a role. Working with these measurements is important, as diverting away from these systems, or going ‘off script’ is more likely to result in a biased response.  

Encourage and enable inclusion

It’s important to be open to diverse and fresh perspectives from your colleagues during the hiring process. Involve a range of people, bringing diversity onto the interview panel if possible.  Encourage a culture where all voices are heard and where those involved agree to hold each other to account if they notice bias creeping in.   

Be consistent

Consistency across how you treat each candidate during the recruitment and selection process is essential. Being inconsistent, for example favouring a candidate that you have something in common with, or offering allowances to some candidates but not all, is a sure way to allow bias to enter the process, undermining your attempt at inclusivity.  

Ask relevant questions

It’s important to find information about a candidate during the recruitment and selection process, but this should only be relevant to the role they are applying for, not their personal information. Asking about a candidate’s marital status or family plans during an interview can be discriminatory and is likely to result in a prejudicial decision based on these answers.  

Think outside the box

Whilst looking for a candidate who offers ‘cultural fit’ and who is likely to gel well with existing employees is sometimes a useful consideration, it’s important to keep yourself open to fresh perspectives. Diverse and innovative approaches are not born out of environments in which everyone is similar and shares the same opinions or ways of working. 

Train staff involved in recruitment and selection 

It’s important that those working in recruitment and selection are equipped with the right knowledge and tools to ensure a fair, accessible and inclusive hiring practice. Investing in appropriate training for these employees is likely to significantly strengthen your inclusive approach to recruitment and selection.

How inclusive is my hiring practice?

Being an inclusive leader and employer requires reflecting on your hiring practice and recruitment strategies. Consider the following reflective questions to help you assess your current practices: 

  • Am I aware of and do I address any unconscious biases that may influence my decision-making during the processes of recruitment and candidate selection? 
  • Do I transparently follow recruitment and selection processes that are designed to ensure fairness to all candidates? 
  • Do I understand how different identities can potentially affect the recruitment experience? 
  • Do I bring different perspectives to the table during the recruitment process? 
  • Do I encourage and welcome feedback on how I can be more inclusive in my role as a hiring manager?  
  • Am I mindful of different communication styles and adapt my approach to accommodate diverse candidates?  

Being reflective and considering the above questions can help you identify areas for growth and improvement across your organisation and its current practices. Becoming a more inclusive organisation is not a one-stop destination, it’s an ongoing journey. Taking the time to step back and reflect on how your organisation is recruiting is part of that journey, and key to create an environment that is truly inclusive.  

How Marshalls can help you strengthen your approach to recruitment

As a specialist in diversity and inclusion training, we at Marshalls recognise the necessity of implementing recruitment strategies that are inclusive, fair and accessible. We have designated eLearning courses on this topic, including our Inclusive Recruitment Training and our Inclusive Recruitment Micro-Course Training. Both of these training courses are designed to equip learners with the key knowledge and skills required to implement an inclusive recruitment process across your organisation. Featuring thought-provoking questions, high-quality graphics and accurate, up-to-date content, these training courses are a valuable tool for organisations looking to diversify their talent pool and recruit the strongest candidates.  

Our inclusive recruitment training course was developed with the University of Sussex in 2019 and concludes with interviews from university staff on the challenges around creating an inclusive environment. Following this, we developed a version of this training with the Open University, and since then 12 different UK universities have commissioned this course. To get a glimpse of the content within our courses, here is one of the video case studies taken from our inclusive recruitment training:  


Each inclusive recruitment module is available off-the-shelf and customisable, meaning that you can tailor the training to suit your organisation by featuring branding, photography and policy content. Are you interested in a 14-day free trial? Please click the ‘Free Trial’ button on our course pages or contact us directly to access a free trial of our inclusive recruitment eLearning.

Free Trial
Get a