When we talk about employer branding and candidate experience, we can’t fail to speak about inclusive hiring. Gender-neutrality in the hiring process has been a hot topic of conversation over the decades – and for a good reason. It’s imperative companies strive to achieve equality within their hiring techniques and HR procedures.
But the fact remains that many recruitment processes still rely on stereotyping to one degree or another. While this might not be intentional, subtle biases can creep into recruitment processes, discouraging specific genders from applying. Or, at the end of the application process, the same biases might prevent qualified candidates from getting the job offer they deserve.
So, to address this all-important issue, we’re discussing gender neutrality in the hiring process and how this affects the candidate experience.
Grab a cup of coffee, and let’s dive in…
What Does It Mean to be Gender-Neutral and Gender-Inclusive?
Gender-inclusive hiring refers to a recruitment process that doesn’t discriminate against particular sexes or gender identities. Neither does it perpetuate existing gender stereotypes.
It’s crucial to understand where these biases might still exist to facilitate an unbiased candidate experience that welcomes people of all gender identities equally.
The problem, according to Office for Women, is often unconscious bias. This is a process that occurs subconsciously and skews the decision-making of hiring managers towards a particular outcome. These biases often express themselves in the language hiring managers use to formulate their job offerings.
Why’s Gender-Neutral Hiring Important?
The most obvious answer to this question is that equality is a standard all businesses should aspire to. Not only is this important on an ethical level, but in 2021, standing up for inclusivity may also be an essential part of your employer brand.
In fact, as many as 81% of Gen Z strongly believe gender no longer defines a person as much as it did in the past. So, it’s no wonder that many young people feel a dissonance between brands that place importance on outdated stereotypes for their marketing and hiring practices. Businesses that hope to appeal to younger audiences will need to demonstrate that they too support and encourage gender inclusivity.
Aside from your brand’s perception, there are other practical reasons to care about gender inclusivity. For example, gender biases in your hiring process can make for an unpleasant candidate experience. Consequently, you could lose promising candidates and dissuade top talent from applying in the future.
Subconscious biases may also push you towards hiring decisions that aren’t best for your company’s needs. The more bias you eliminate, the fairer the playing field; the best talent should win out. A win-win both for your organization and inclusivity.
How to Achieve Gender-Neutral Hiring for a Better Candidate Experience
Now that we’ve explored why gender-neutral hiring is important, here are some practical steps for eradicating this kind of bias from your recruitment process:
Avoid Gender-Biased Language in Job Ads
Using pronouns like “he” or “she” often communicated a set of subconscious expectations. Specific job roles have, throughout history, also taken on traditionally masculine or feminine connotations, making it difficult for other genders to engage fully.
Suppose you’re curious whether your job ads express any subtle gender bias. In that case, you could use a gender decoder to check for formulations that might discourage certain applicants.
Use AI-Powered Software Solutions to Screen Suitable Candidates
Humans are never entirely unbiased due to their subjective experiences. But, AI can make completely objective decisions. For example, using AI-fuelled software to evaluate resumes and the results of pre-employment assessment tests ensures one gender isn’t preferred over another. Instead, the right software solution can decide for you by presenting you the best candidates for the job based on empirical evidence of their skill and aptitude.
Get Inputs from All Walks of Life
One of the best ways to diffuse bias is to get an insight into different perspectives. This means listening to other voices to understand what needs to change in the recruitment process.
Getting candidate and employee feedback is vital to enhancing the candidate’s experience in any scenario. But you can collect info specifically on gender inclusivity to learn if your application process has made all candidates feel equally included. Then if any red flags are raised, you can then take action to make any necessary improvements.
Inclusive Hiring is The Future
It’s clear that the discussion of gender in the workplace is long from over, and the fight for total inclusivity still has a way to go. Nonetheless, gender neutrality is gaining popularity – and we’re thankful for that! The future workforce is inclusive hiring, and your organization can strengthen its employer brand by incorporating gender-inclusive recruitment techniques into your hiring processes.
For more info on how organizations provide gender-neutral candidate experiences, listen to the episode of Candidate Experience Talks with Jessica at Columbus below. Enjoy!
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