5 Game-Changing Diversity and Inclusion Recruitment Best Practices

41% of managers in the workplace today believe they’re too busy to focus on diversity initiatives.

Recruiters, I’ll let you in on a secret: That’s a huge mistake.

Diversity in recruitment is incredibly important, and many studies have shown that a diverse workplace is a workplace that can achieve more. 📈

If your recruitment agency wants to get with the times and stay with them, you need a solid strategy in place that accounts for inclusivity.

In this article, I’ll reveal what diversity in hiring looks like, why it matters, and which five best practices for diversity recruitment come highly recommended by AdBuilder.


What Does Diversity and Inclusion in Recruitment Involve?

We’ll start with the basics and dive into the real meanings of these regularly used buzzwords.

What Does ‘Diversity and Inclusion’ Mean?

Diversity in hiring terms = A mixed candidate pool of people. Different genders, ages, races, socioeconomic backgrounds, sexualities and more.

Inclusion in hiring terms = An effort by the recruiter to ensure that all of these people are welcomed, valued and treated with equal dignity and respect.

It’s that simple. 🤷

There’s a misconception in certain corners of recruitment that a push for diverse hiring practices is a forced effort to hire minority or disadvantaged candidates.

In reality, diversity recruitment best practices are designed simply to level the playing field, allowing the most qualified person to find a job, apply for it, and step into it with ease.

What is Diversity Recruitment?

Diversity recruitment is a style of recruitment that accounts for the existing biases in the working world and seeks to resolve them.

2014 PNAS study found that managers of both sexes were twice as likely to hire a man as they were to hire a woman, even though creating a highly inclusive organisation generates double the cash flow per employee and be 120% more capable of meeting financial targets.

There’s no such thing as recruitment for diversity’s sake when diversity has consistently made a positive impact in workplaces.

If you can skip the bias, your recruitment agency will be able to find the most qualified candidates for your clients.

Which is what everyone involved wants, right? 🙌

Before we get into the best practices, though, let’s be sure we’re hitting every box we can when it comes to inclusive recruitment strategies.

Diversity and Inclusion: Recruitment Best Practices

67% of active and passive job seekers agree that a diverse workforce is an important factor when evaluating companies and job offers.

So, it pays to place a greater focus on diversity and inclusion recruitment best practices. Here are five cracking examples to get you started. 👌

Practice 1: Set Measurable Goals 📐

The practice of setting KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) and benchmarks focused on diversity and inclusion is an extremely helpful one, as it means that you’ll be doing two things:

  1. Setting concrete, actionable goals rather than speaking in the abstract.
  2. Honestly and accurately measuring your progress.

Back in June of this year, Amazon Studios released its ‘Inclusion Playbook’ for public viewing, supporting the company’s ongoing commitment to hiring diversely.

In this Playbook, Amazon Studios very clearly outlined set goals and targets, including:

– 30% hiring of women/non-binary people to director, writer and producer roles

– 30% hiring of underrepresented racial/ethnic groups to director, writer and producer roles

– 50% of characters with speaking roles should be women/LGBT+/disabled/from an underrepresented racial/ethnic group

As a recruiter, you’ll be able to apply goal setting in your own way.

You’ll set some shorter-term and some longer-term goals, and you’ll be able to monitor the progress of these goals towards completion, adjusting as and when it feels required.

Here are some examples of the kinds of goals you might be looking to achieve as a recruiter:

– A percentage threshold of diverse applicants.

– A percentage threshold of diverse hired candidates.

– A gender-balanced applicant pool.

– A job advert overhaul, replacing certain language choices with more inclusive alternatives.

Practice 2: Tackle Unconscious Bias 💭

Bias is the big bad wolf of the workplace, particularly when that bias is unspoken and implicit, making it 10,000 times harder to detect.

Still, like Little Red Riding Hood’s grandma, bad things are lurking beneath the façade.

Thankfully for you and me, there are multiple ways to vanquish or tame unconscious bias.

And in a world where there are more male CEOs named ‘David’ than there are female CEOs?

It needs to be. 😒

You can lessen the impact of unconscious bias on the recruitment process by:

1. Automating Certain Aspects of Hiring

Recruitment automation tools, from AdBuilder to AssessFirst, are a great way to reduce the level of bias that can occur during candidate sourcing, job advertising and onboarding.

When your recruitment processes include a higher level of automation, you free up employee time to invest elsewhere.

Perhaps in training, so that their ability to make diverse hires is increased?

2. Using Screening Tests

Pre-employment screening provides that all-important type of information to recruiters and employers.

Brands like TestGorilla can provide recruiters with a wide suite of screening options, from personality tests to coding proficiency tasks and tests of verbal and mechanical reasoning.

Screening tests are a chance to take everything out of the equation except cold, hard data, allowing for candidates to be assessed evenly and unbiasedly

3. Using AdGrader

And there’s always AdGrader, our new offering. 👋

As you know, AdGrader will help you to assess how inclusive your job advert really is and make any necessary changes before publishing it for the world to see.

That way, you won’t be scaring off quality candidates with a few poorly chosen words.

After all, with so few words to pull a candidate in and shorter listings performing measurably better, getting your job ad spot on matters.

Practice 3: Don’t Forget Factors Like Religion and Education 📙

There’s more to diversity and inclusion recruitment best practices than accounting for race, gender and sexuality.

Often, the concept of diversity is reduced in a way that excludes certain disadvantaged groups, such as:

🧑‍🦽    Disabled people – Though many disabled people are willing and able to work, they face bias, unfair assumptions and discrimination during the recruitment process.

💒    People from certain religions – There are around 4,300 religions in this world, and all human beings should have the right to practice a religion of their choosing without facing judgement or discrimination. Unfortunately, this isn’t always the case.

🏘    People from a lower socioeconomic class – Tying into the concepts (mentioned earlier) of Geographical Bias and Educational Bias, many managers and recruiters make assumptions about working-class people, sometimes judging them to be less intelligent based on accent alone.

🎏    People with different cultural experiences – Anyone, regardless of race, can feel disconnected from their peers if their cultural experience doesn’t seem to be represented or respected in the workplace or during the hiring process.

True inclusion is about more than labelling people and ticking them off a list.

It’s about fostering a welcoming culture of care and support. 💓

Recognise that life is different for everyone.

Throughout the recruiting process, it’s your job to ensure that you don’t make any damaging assumptions and push people away from the job opportunities you’re advertising.

Also, recognise that education and experience aren’t always the best measures of talent.

By changing what we prioritise, we change the kinds of candidates that we attract.

So, if you’re not attracting the right people currently, maybe it’s time for a rethink.

Practice 4: Avoid Using Exclusionary Language 🚫

If I’ve told you once, I’ve told you a million times: Nailing your job advert is a sure-fire way to attract more brilliant candidates.

You can do this by:

  • Ensuring your job ad is in that sweet spot between not informative enough and way too long to hold the candidate’s attention.
  •  Avoiding the use of any exclusionary or gendered language that could put diverse candidates off.

Gender bias in job adverts is more common than you might think. Sometimes it’s as simple as using masculine-coded words, like ‘active’, ‘adventurous’ and ‘lead’, or a few too many feminine-coded words, like ‘compassion’, ‘connection’ and ‘support’.

Here are a few tips to help you avoid the use of gender-coded language in your job advertisements:

Create TOV (Tone of Voice) guidelines centred around inclusive language – Some candidates will restrict themselves to diverse job boards, as they want to be sure that they’ll be entering a supportive workplace. By listing on these boards, you’ll open up your candidate pool.

Skip the jargon and over-technical phrasing for entry-level positions – Candidates don’t want to feel like they’re working through a dense legal document when they’re trying to understand your ad. Swap your ‘liaise with’ for a ‘work with’. Keep metaphor and potentially unknown acronyms out of the picture.

Use an accessible font – Use a font that’s accessible to someone with Dyslexia, like Arial or Calibri.

Include a short statement emphasising the employer’s commitment to diversity – As a recruiter, this will likely need to be done in agreement with the employer. But often, explicitly stating that the workplace will be an inclusive one makes diverse candidates feel safe to apply.

Practice 5: List Your Ads on Diversity Job Boards 🎯

There are three key benefits to advertising your jobs on diversity job boards:

  1. If your client is looking for a niche type of candidate, you’ll be able to narrow it down with a diverse job board.
  2. Some candidates will restrict themselves to diverse job boards, as they want to be sure that they’ll be entering a supportive workplace. By listing on these boards, you’ll open up your candidate pool.
  3. In the same way, you’ll show all candidates that the employer you’re advertising for is supportive, encouraging more applications. 🎉

Use These Popular Diversity Job Boards to Meet Candidates Where They Are


This job board sees 6,000 website visitors each week and offers multiple pricing options for recruiters looking to advertise jobs. Minority candidates from a range of backgrounds know that they can find inclusive employers on DiverseJobsMatter.

LGBT Jobs and BME Jobs

These boards, which were both created by the same people, advertise thousands of LGBT and BME friendly jobs. Many high-profile clients choose to list on these diversity job boards, including Benefit Cosmetics, Starbucks and Sky.

Investing in Women

Investing in Women is designed to help working mothers locate flexible and part-time opportunities with supportive UK employers across an array of industries, including banking, finance, consulting and real estate.


This job board boasts 25,000 registered candidates and 600 registered businesses, helping ex-military personnel make a smooth return to civilian life with job opportunities in engineering, ICT, aerospace, cybersecurity and more.

One of the best ways to make a candidate feel safe is to actively demonstrate a commitment to diversity, and this can come through in everything from the places you advertise to the language you use.

Tread carefully. 👣

Why is Diversity Recruiting Important?

Diversity recruitment best practices matter for many different reasons, some of which we’ve already touched on.

If you’re asking yourself why diversity and inclusion are important enough to invest in, you only need to look at what a diverse workplace can accomplish.

Diversity Statistics Worth Remembering

– Worldwide, companies with the most culturally diverse boards are 43% more likely to experience high profits. [McKinsey & Company]

– Inclusive companies are 1.7 times more likely to be innovation leaders in their market. [Josh Bersin]

– Companies in the top quartile for gender diversity on executive teams are 21% more likely to outperform the competition in terms of profitability. [McKinsey & Company]

– Diverse teams of people make better decisions than individuals 87% of the time. [Cloverpop]

– Companies with diverse management teams enjoy revenue that’s 19% higher than competitors. [Boston Consulting Group]

– Bilingual employees earn 10% more revenue. [Business 2 Community]

See what I mean? 🤯

Learning How to Recruit a Diverse Workforce Takes Time and Effort

Figuring out how to consistently follow diversity and inclusion recruitment best practices in your agency won’t always be easy, especially when it comes to deeper systemic changes.

But if you can do it, you’ll elevate your entire recruitment process.

“It makes sense that having different perspectives and backgrounds on your team will contribute to newer and more diverse ideas to help solve problems and drive innovation.” – Brendan McConnell

If diverse practices are well and truly on the list, but you’re still looking to do more to attract the best possible candidates, stay with us. 💗

Stick around on the AdGrader blog to discover:

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James Ball
Written by James Ball

James is the founder and owner of AdGrader and a recruitment expert from Sutton Coldfield in the UK.  He regularly advises companies on how to improve and get the maximum ROI from their recruitment processes and diverse & inclusive advertising.

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