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Inclusive recruitment: Building diverse, high-performing teams

By Megan Tibby, Consultant, Ascent Professional Services.

Diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) are crucial aspects of modern recruitment. It's not just about creating a fair hiring process; it’s about allowing your consultancy to reach its full potential with a diverse workforce that fuels innovation and success. 

In this blog post, I will be outlining the practical steps you can take to ensure your recruitment process is fully accessible for candidates with disabilities – whether they’re physical or neurological, seen or unseen.

For innovative thinking to thrive in your consultancy, you need to embrace a diverse range of perspectives. Studies show that diverse teams perform better than their less diverse counterparts when it comes to problem-solving and generating creative ideas. 

To attract the best talent, you need to go beyond traditional recruitment methods and embrace a more inclusive approach – one that’s designed with the needs of all candidates in mind. If this article interests you and you want to discuss how to incorporate DEI into your recruitment strategy get in touch with me on LinkedIn, or email me and megan.tibby@ascentpros.com for a chat. 

Why inclusion matters 

For many people with disabilities, the assessment and recruitment process can present significant, additional challenges. If your current interview processes are not as accessible as they could be, you could be limiting your talent pool, and missing out on exceptional individuals who bring unique strengths and abilities to the table.

To make sure you find the right candidates, you need to create a fair and level playing field. By making a few, often minor, adjustments, you’ll open the door to a wider range of talent, ultimately strengthening your firm's competitive edge.

First impressions count

Let’s start with the basics. Are you sending a clear message of inclusivity? Is the imagery on your website and in your marketing truly comprehensive enough? Including people with disabilities helps to convey the message that your workplace values a diverse workforce.

You can also use your website to highlight existing support for potential hires. For example, does your firm have a disability-focused employee resource group or champions promoting inclusivity? Demonstrating these aspects of your culture through your careers page and social media will help convey your consultancy in a way that won’t filter the top talent you attract.

Making your recruitment process more accessible

There are a number of practical steps you can take to ensure your recruitment process opens the doors to those with disabilities:

  • Job description transparency: Clearly state how you plan to accommodate candidates with disabilities throughout the application and interview process. This could include offering extended time for online assessments, providing materials in alternative formats (e.g., dyslexia-friendly fonts), or using video interviews with captioning options.
  • Proactive accommodations: Don't wait for candidates to request the accommodations they require. When inviting them to interview, ask whether they require any adjustments to ensure a smooth and comfortable experience. This demonstrates your commitment to inclusivity and shows you value their participation.
  • Focus on skills, not location: Consider offering remote working options for certain roles. This can be particularly beneficial for neurodiverse candidates who may thrive in a quieter environment, or people whose physical limitations might make a traditional office setting challenging.
  • Physical accessibility: If your office is wheelchair accessible or has features that aid those with disabilities (e.g., Braille signage, automatic doors), highlight this on your careers page and job postings. Even this small step can make a big difference in attracting qualified applicants.

Structuring interviews for neurodiversity

When interviewing neurodivergent candidates, a few adjustments can make a big difference. Here's how to ensure your interview process is as inclusive as possible:

  • Provide structure and clarity: Clearly outline the interview format, duration, and any assessments in advance. Consider offering the interview questions beforehand to allow candidates time to prepare and process.
  • Minimise sensory overload: Choose a quiet interview room with minimal distractions. Be mindful of lighting and background noise.
  • Focus on communication: Ask clear, concise questions and allow ample time for thoughtful responses. Avoid rapid-fire questioning or interrupting.
  • Offer flexibility: Consider alternative interview formats like video calls or written responses, especially for initial screenings. Be open to providing breaks during the interview if needed.

By implementing these steps, you can create a more comfortable and accessible interview environment that allows both neurodivergent and physically disabled candidates to showcase their full potential.

Making these small changes to your recruitment practices will also demonstrate your commitment to building a more diverse and inclusive workplace. In turn, helping you to attract the best candidates and foster a culture of innovation and collaboration – a winning combination in the competitive world of consulting.

Ready to take action? We can help you assess your current recruitment practices for accessibility and collaborate with you on an inclusive recruitment strategy that attracts top talent.

We can also support you and your candidates throughout the selection process, and provide resources to help potential candidates with disabilities thrive in your firm. 

Get in touch with me today and start your journey towards a more diverse and high-performing team!

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