It’s time to diversify…
Growing your digital marketing team is exciting! But, when hiring new talent, how do you make sure you’re not biased, or unintentionally excluding someone through your recruitment activity? Not only would this be hugely unfair but it’s also illegal. The 2010 Equality Act makes it unlawful to discriminate against people for age, gender, sexual orientation, sex, race, religious beliefs, disability, neurodiversity, gender assignment and more.
Expanding your team is a great opportunity to share your company’s personality with the outside world. You can ensure there is a positive PR experience by ensuring your company has a diverse culture. A lot of people are very uncomfortable with an all-white, middle-aged panel of board members, for example. So, it starts with your own team. Do you have policies in place to nurture the reduction of unconscious bias in recruitment and career development?
The Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement has spelt out to the world how important this issue is and I’ve always been keen to see clockworkTalent help our clients diversify their digital marketing teams with unbiased recruitment. I proactively sought to form partnerships with would kilter the industry bias. We were early sponsors and partners to Areej’s superb global community of Women in Tech SEO, Rejoice and Wilhemina’s platform to promote the black community in Media, and B-Digital and take part in coaching and mentoring on every occasion. Recently part of a panel providing free CV critiques for Chima’s cohort of aspiring SEO from The Freelance Coalitions for Developing Countries.
If you’re not clear about what discrimination is in the recruitment process, let me try and help. Whether it’s intentional or not, it’s the unfair or unequal treatment of an individual because of a particular protected characteristic, in recruitment, this means when a job seeker is selected for any reason other than their qualifications and experience.
If you want an example of an employer who has got it right, we’ve got a fine example where a recent return to work Mum (who is also deaf) landed an awesome digital marketing role with agency employer, Britweb. Her passion for helping brands incorporate accessibility to their marketing only fueled this employer’s keenness to bring her into their team.
Whilst we, at clockworkTalent, have our own guidelines to follow best practice for selecting candidates; I know it’s important to also help our employers eliminate discrimination from their processes too. This can be done by following these 8 simple rules for full equality and inclusion:
- Consider diverse educational backgrounds
- Don’t count employment gaps against candidates
- Avoid age bias
- Limit referral hiring
- Use skill assessments
- Advertise it right
- Ask everyone the same questions
- Assess everyone equally
Consider Diverse Educational Backgrounds
Exceptional digital marketers can be self-taught, earned through their naturally curious minds. After all, it’s only recently that higher education courses have been designed specifically for the digital marketing industry. Instead of demanding a degree level education, it’s better to look at examples of where they’ve learned on the job, implemented their own ideas, practised their craft through side hustles or voluntary work, regular participation at industry conferences, workshops online forums etc.
Don’t Count Employment Gaps Against People
Someone might not have recently worked because they’ve been raising their children or nursing an elderly relative. You can’t assume they’re any less committed to their work because of this. You’ll need to explore their forward-going commitment, experience and drive.
Don’t Be Biased On Age
When it comes to digital marketing careers, once you’re past the fundamentals stage, can accelerate rapidly. Just because someone only has 5 years SEO, doesn’t mean they’re any less valuable than someone with 10 years.
Limit Hiring Referrals
Hiring friends of friends is great but it significantly reduces the diversity of your team. Inviting job applications through external sources widens the network. Chances are you’ll inject different skills and energy as well as increase the workplace’s diversity. All are very good contributors to the workforce with the potential to excel.
Use Skill Assessments
Introducing tasks or skills assessment as part of the process offers everyone a level playing field to show what they’re capable of by showcasing their practical skills.
Advertising It Right
It’s not just about what happens in the interview, it’s also about your job advert. Make sure it’s clear, easy to read and gender-neutral in tone.
Ensure your job ad doesn’t include phrases to target (or exclude) protected characteristics i.e. “unaccented English” -yes, this is a real-life example from a job ad! Another common phrase used is “cultural fit”. If you’re going to advertise this, then you need a clear definition of the company culture. If otherwise vague, you’re inviting bias. A good example of this is an agency we’ve successfully hired for multiple times over the years. To hire for this company we’re looking for evidence of passion, whether it’s their personal interest – a sport, a collection of dolls houses. It doesn’t matter, it’s almost irrelevant what it is, as long as the interviewee can demonstrate their underpinning passion or love for something and are able to convey it to me.
Ask Everyone The Same Questions
Having a structured interview protects the interviewer from unintentional discrimination. By having a set list of questions, there’s no picking and choosing from the list. It’s consistent and gives a fair comparison of everyone.
Assess Everyone Equally
Use the same scale to evaluate everyone. This is important. Deciding what level of experience/qualifications someone needs to bring and rating them according to that scale. Taking the average from everyone involved in the interview decision-making determines the candidates which really are a good fit.
In addition to following our own guidelines, as expert industry recruiters, we can protect hiring managers from unintentional bias in their initial decision-making of who to interview. When providing CVs to be considered by line managers or HR, we can anonymise them. Removing gender, geography or other telling factors. This isn’t a practice often taken up by employers but it is one we offer, and with those employers who use it there are very positive results.
If you’re hiring, expanding the digital marketing expertise of your team; and would like expert support in your recruitment, email your details to email@example.com.