The CVs have been screened, the interviews and tests have been completed, the selection committee has put its findings on the table. Now it's time to talk turkey and effectively choose a new colleague.
How do you make sure that the ultimate decision is as inclusive as all previous interventions? How do you make a truly inclusive choice? A few important points to be considered:
"(I too) fell into the trap of the distorted image people have of a director, and did not immediately feel called to a position that is usually filled by people who do not look like me. So this is a warm plea to young women from migrant backgrounds to do have guts and take risks. It can bring you great things."
Melat Gebeyaw Nigussie in BRUZZ following her appointment as director of the Beursschouwburg (2020)
What are the advantages of objective selection?
Which of the above benefits are relevant to your organisation?
Link a concrete action point to each chosen benefit:
Put these action points on the agenda of your next meeting with your manager. Tell them you want to work towards a more inclusive recruitment and selection process in this way, and immediately indicate what support you need to achieve this.
For each selection round appoint one of the members of the selection committee to monitor the joint responsibility for diversity and prevent (unintentional) biases from influencing the interview.
As a committee, agree on which information will be used in the evaluation and decision. This should already be clear as regards the information gained on the basis of the pre-agreed interview questions. During the selection process and interviews, a lot of unexpected information also comes to the surface, either from the candidate or from the members of the selection committee. Make agreements on transparency (e.g. on sharing personal insights and information with a candidate) and on how to 'offset' this (e.g. when candidates talk about their family situation of their own accord).
Weigh the importance of a diploma against the importance of experience. Do you attach more importance to one or the other? On your scorecard - and also during deliberation - state what you consider to be relevant experience.
Don't deviate from focusing on what really matters in the final decision meeting. Check and discuss only those qualities, skills and knowledge that are actually relevant to the job. The chairman of the selection committee has an important role to play here. Always return to the essential tasks, competences and skills. This will also facilitate communication of the final choice later on.
TIP: Make the assessment more objective by discussing all candidates per application question, instead of discussing each candidate in full, one by one. This ensures that each application is viewed more objectively and choices are based less on gut feel.
If candidates are equally rated, choosing for diversity is preferable. Many recruiters get cold feet at this point and choose new staff whose background and characteristics match the profile of current staff. This reversion to known profiles is also called affinity bias. How can you avoid it? For example, by consulting the future team of the new employee on this point.
Colleagues can indicate which complementary skills are relevant and how the new candidate could strengthen the team. Instead of focusing on the candidate who you initially think is a better fit with your company culture (culture fit), it's more interesting to ask what a new employee could contribute to the organisational culture (cultural add).
Apply the 'two in the pool' rule: for every vacant position, at least half of the candidates in the final round of applications must be from a minority group. This ensures that there's an eye for diversity at every stage of the application process.
Make specific agreements about what you will do if the two in the pool rule is not met. Do you re-open your vacancy? Do you restart the selection round? It is important to take this into account in advance. Too often, selections are set up within a short time frame. Decisions are then made under time pressure, rather than being based on competences or organisational goals. So, allow time for the vacancy to be readvertised, if necessary. And discuss whether the members of the selection committee whether they will serve on it again, if required.
Once you have made your choice, you obviously want to tell the new employee the good news. Don’t forget to include some other important conversations.
The members of the recruitment and selection committee should evaluate the entire selection process and extract learnings from it. Then they should report all their findings to the HR manager. The committee members discuss the extent to which objectivity has been observed during the process. Also check that the final, selected candidate complies with the visible/invisible diversity characteristics of the person you set out to recruit in order to join the team.
Ask yourself these questions:
Even after recruitment, the focus on inclusion must remain sharp. There is an increased turnover and often a premature exit of people in minority groups and/or minority positions. The majority group replies with: diversity is not happening because 'they don't want to be here'. While minority workers are much more likely to characterise their outflow as: I'm leaving because I feel unhappy here. Again, inclusive leadership is relevant here, so speak out clearly in favour of diversity, challenge the status quo and continue to make inclusion a priority.