When interviewing for your next leader you need put in place actions to ensure that you are carrying out a fair interview for all. From the preparation before the interview to how you collate your feedback, all candidates (including those who are diverse) want to feel welcome and at ease when interviewing.
If you are serious about fostering an inclusive culture in the workplace, we put together some tips that you can take on when interviewing for your next diverse leader.
Preparing for the interview
Interviews usually involve multiple stakeholders, so how do you ensure they are completely bias free? You can’t, but there are ways you can mitigate some of the common ways bias emerges
- Diverse panel: Build a recruitment panel with a range of diverse interviewers to help eliminate bias affinity. Not only they are bringing diverse views into the process to minimize bias in decision making, but you are also demonstrating to a candidate you are an organization that welcomes diverse opinions.
- Training: Ensure interviewers are trained in dealing with unconscious bias. They can complete some form of conscious inclusion training in order to engage fairly with all candidates in the process regardless of their identity.
During the interview
Ensure you are making adjustments to your interview process to cater to different types of candidates. These can include:
- Environment: The environment is particularly important for those who are neurodiverse and where their sensory experience may be heightened. Example, too much noise or a disruptive environment with people entering and leaving may negatively impact how they respond to an interview situation.
- Adjustments: This includes being flexible with the time of interviews for someone who has childcare/home care commitments or disabilities. It’s also worth considering in advance how you may provide any interview material or communications in an alternative format, such as Braille or audio, if required
Questions and criteria
When selecting questions and criteria, it is important for inclusive interviewing to establish objective, performance-based criteria. The most common methods are behavioral interviewing and competency evaluations. For this, we recommend using the simple but effective S.T.A.R. (Situation, Task, Action, Result) method to allow the candidate to demonstrate their abilities and reveal innate competencies that led to specific achievements.
The focus here is on what is achieved and how, because it’s structured and ensures consistency in experience for the candidates by asking them the same questions and regularity in evaluation of candidates.
As a result, when determining suitability, you will have specific examples from the interview to back up any decision which helps limit bias in the decision-making process.
You might also consider including values, diversity, and inclusion-type questions specific to the role in those behavioral evaluations. That way you can understand how candidates consider others, value inclusion, and manage a situation. Here are some examples:
- “Tell me about a time you advocated for diversity and inclusion in the workplace?”
- “As a manager, what steps do you take to eliminate bias when making decisions to recruit someone?”
- “Can you give us a sense of how you make your team feel a sense of inclusion and belonging on a daily basis?”
- “What is respect and dignity? How would you demonstrate this in the workplace?”
Although we’ve touched on language in the process stage, it’s equally important in the selection stage. With a more diverse pool of candidates, you are likely to have people from different cultures where, common words and body language don’t convey exactly the same meaning. Example, in some cultures infrequent eye contact may indicate a trust issue while it others it signifies respect. It may even not have anything do with culture, it could be that the individual is someone in the Autism Spectrum Disorder, where they may not communicate and interact in a way you’re used to.
After the interview
Following interviews, to avoid group think it is best to ask interviewers for their individual feedback to lower the chance of the interviewers influencing each other – especially where there are seniority and perceived power differences between the interviewers involved.
It is important that everyone is encouraged to share their honest opinion without being subconsciously influenced by the reviews and thoughts of others. When it comes to evaluating the candidates, you need to ensure that the documentation is clear on what was considered. It should be apparent to anyone assessing the review why certain applications progressed, why others didn’t and there should be clear grounds for decisions that are not discriminatory.