How to Lead Inclusive Interviews

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Building an inclusive work environment starts before your employees even come on board. Your company’s recruitment and hiring process is the foundation of workplace culture, and implementing inclusive practices in these stages is key to creating a culture where employees thrive.

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Learn how to lead effective interviews, recognize common biases, and be part of an inclusive process that will attract top candidates to your company.

Why does inclusive interviewing matter?

You probably already know that inclusion matters in the workplace. There’s a wealth of research that shows that inclusive workplaces consistently outperform their competitors in all aspects of business. According to a study from Deloitte, organizations with inclusive cultures are two times as likely to meet or exceed financial targets, three times as likely to be high-performing, six times more likely to be innovating and agile, and a whopping eight times more likely to achieve better business outcomes.

Imagine trying to build a home without first laying a foundation. There would be very little structural integrity, and the home would probably collapse after a short time. Similarly, you can’t build a diverse and welcoming workplace without implementing an inclusive hiring process. 

Unfortunately, it’s common for hiring managers and recruiters to be swayed by biases in interviews— oftentimes unknowingly. These unconscious biases that occur outside of your conscious awareness have a powerful impact on decision-making, leading you to make choices that may not be the best for your organization.

The best way to beat unconscious bias in interviewing is to take an objective approach known as structured interviewing.

RELATED: 100+ Interview Questions for Recruiters to Use

What is a structured interview?

Structured interviewing is a proven method that can help you overcome common interview biases and identify the best candidate for the role you’re filling. This interview method takes a standardized approach that is focused on assessing all candidates using predetermined questions. This ensures that your hiring decisions are based on relevant facts, not “gut feelings” or implicit biases. Though they take some upfront effort to coordinate and prepare, they can actually streamline your hiring process and ensure fairness and consistency.

Benefits of structured interviewing

Not convinced yet? Here are some important benefits of structured interviewing that you should know:

1. Structured interviews give you actionable insights that lead to better hiring decisions.

Instead of gathering and basing your hiring decisions on irrelevant factors, a structured interview allows you to assess whether or not a candidate has the essential skills and qualities to excel in a role. 

According to an analysis published by Frank Schmidt and John Hunter that looked at 85 years of research, structured interviews were more likely to accurately predict a candidate’s performance than unstructured interviews, background checks, or simply looking at years of experience. 

2. Structured interviews help you avoid asking illegal questions.

Some interview questions are illegal and violate equal employment laws, depending on the state or country that you’re located in. Structured interviews help prevent hiring managers from asking both obviously discriminatory and not-so-obviously discriminatory questions during interviews. Furthermore, structured interviews provide you with detailed documentation of your interview, which could help you should your company find itself in court. 

3. Structured interviews leave candidates feeling good about their interview and your company, even if they are not extended an offer.

An interview will likely be the first opportunity that a candidate has to get up close and personal with a company and their culture. You want this first impression to be a good one, even if you end up not extending an offer to the candidate. After all, every candidate deserves a positive interview experience. By coming into the interview with clear objectives and purposeful questions, an interviewer will be less likely to waste a candidate’s valuable time. 

4. Structured interviews are more inclusive and lead to greater diversity.

We already touched on this, but it all comes full circle! Structured interviewing leads to greater diversity and inclusion. Simply put, the best way to ensure that all candidates get the same treatment is to ask the same questions, the same way. 

Inclusive interviews lead to more diversity in your workplace, which leads to greater success overall.

About JobSage’s “How to Lead Inclusive Interviews” guide

We hope our guide is a valuable resource that will help your organization get started with inclusive interviewing. In the guide you’ll find:

  • An overview of your goals as an interviewer
  • Common biases that can occur during an interview
  • Questions that you should avoid 
  • How to lead a structured interview
  • What to do after an interview
  • Three practice rounds that’ll get you thinking about potential interview scenarios

Remember, you might not get it perfect at first. You may have to revisit the guide or rework your questions a few times in order to get the information from candidates that is most relevant. If you stick to the method, however, you and your organization will soon start to reap the benefits of a more inclusive and diverse workplace.

Don’t forget to download the complete guide!

Bookmark, save, or print our guide to reference as you lead a more inclusive hiring process.

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