5 Ways To Make Your Interview Process More Inclusive

Time to Read: 4.7 minutes

Updated: November 24, 2023

Reaching the interview stage can be a nerve-racking time for any candidate but it’s also a time of high pressure for an employer as well. You’ve narrowed down possibly hundreds of applicants to a final few and you are asking critical questions. Are you sure that the candidate is right for the position? Will they fit into the organization? Can they grow and succeed in the role? Perhaps most importantly, are you simply making the safe, comfortable choice? As more and more organizations look to make their diversity, equity and inclusion goals a reality, it’s important that you create an inclusive interview process that allows every candidate the opportunity to shine and finds you the best candidate for the job.

5 Ways to Make Your Interview Process More Inclusive

We’ve offered some advice before on how to make your overall hiring process more inclusive from start to finish, however the interview stage is a crucial one. It’s the first time you and your shortlisted candidates will meet face to face, and the point at which you can really start to evaluate their ability to do the job at hand. Creating an inclusive interview process shouldn’t be difficult. Here are five ways you can build inclusive practices into the interview process and make the most impact:

1. Anticipate Candidate Needs

Creating an inclusive interview process begins with ensuring equal opportunities for all applicants. Before the interview, focus on inclusive communication. This can mean anticipating accessibility requirements, asking candidates for their preferred pronouns, learning name pronunciation in advance and being transparent about the interview process.
You may also consider providing maps to help candidates navigate to and around your office and transcription tools for them understand the conversation clearly. For remote interviews, offer clear guidance to candidates, ensuring they feel comfortable and prepared.

2. Prepare Your Panel

Start by providing training on unconscious bias, enabling panelists to recognize their possible prejudices. It can also help to provide the panel with clearly defined criteria to evaluate candidates on and emphasize the importance of making decisions in line with these benchmarks. Gut feeling is not enough, panelists must be able to justify their choices objectively. Finally, try to select a diverse interview panel that represents a variety of perspectives and backgrounds within your organization. These practices help your panel make fairer assessments based on candidate merit, leading to better, more equitable hiring decisions.

3. Have a Standard Interview Structure

By adopting structured interviews, where all candidates respond to the same set of questions, you create a level playing field. Responses can then be uniformly measured against predetermined indicators of success, promoting fairness and objectivity. Consider incorporating skills-based interviews that focus on capabilities relevant to the job, emphasizing qualifications rather than personal attributes. A structured interview process is more successful at predicting job performance and makes for a more consistent way to guarantee that every candidate is assessed based on their skills and qualifications. We’ve given some tips in the next section of the blog for creating inclusive interview questions.

4. Widen the Context

An interview is a very specific social context with a unique set of pressures and expectations. Something that some candidates may struggle with. And interviews may not even be the best method to evaluate a candidate’s ability to perform certain non-office based or technical roles. Depending on your role or industry, you might choose to use additional assignments, work samples or trial shifts to get a more rounded view of a candidate’s skills and experience. Whatever method you choose be sure that it measures actual indicators of job performance.

5. Care About Your Candidates

There is no reason in a modern hiring process to leave candidates hanging. If someone hasn’t been selected for a role let them know promptly. If you can follow up with constructive, genuine feedback. Candidates appreciate an employer who respects their time and effort, and this can be felt in your employer brand – stat – as well as in maintaining an ongoing talent attraction strategy. Keeping candidates warm and feeling positive about your business means they may choose to apply for other roles in future.

Pierpoint’s Tips for Crafting Inclusive Interview Questions

Creating inclusive interview questions is essential for ensuring a fair and equitable hiring process. Here are some tips to help you:

  • Focus on Skills and Qualifications: Frame questions around the specific skills, qualifications, and experiences needed for the job.
  • Avoid Biased Language: Be mindful of language that could be interpreted as biased, confusing, or leading. Use neutral language to ensure all candidates understand the questions similarly.
  • Be Clear and Concise: Ask questions that are clear and concise to avoid confusion. Questions that are ambiguous or difficult to understand can lead to varied interpretations, impacting fairness.
  • Include a Mix of Question Types: Use a mix of behavioral, situational, and skills-based questions. Behavioral questions ask about past behavior, situational questions assess problem-solving skills, and skills-based questions evaluate specific competencies.
  • Offer Alternatives: Be open to alternative ways of answering questions. Some candidates might express themselves better in writing or through practical demonstrations.
  • Regularly Review Questions: Review your interview questions to make sure they remain relevant, unbiased, and inclusive. Society evolves, and so should your questions.

Remember, the goal of your questions is to assess candidates fairly based on their qualifications and skills and create an inclusive environment where every candidate has an equal opportunity to succeed.

Access powerful technologies and dedicated diversity recruiters to boost both your internal and external diversity, equality, and inclusion efforts quickly, easily, and efficiently. Talk to one of our dedicated consultants today.

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Jen Mulholland

Jen is a successful recruitment and marketing professional. Driven by a genuine passion for writing, she provides insightful, accurate and engaging content for the Human Resources community across a wide range of topics and industries.

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