HR Inclusive Policy Toolkit
What does it mean?
- Inclusive interviewing involves designing an interview process that recognizes potential barriers and bias, and focuses on removing or mitigating the impact of these during the interview and selection process. This can include simple strategies such as stating that accessibility accommodations are available when inviting applicants to the interview, ensuring that interviews are held in an accessible space, and carefully choosing a co-interviewer with a different cross-cultural understanding or perspective in order to reduce individual bias.
- It also involves ensuring that all accommodation requests from applicants are treated confidentially and respectfully.
- Inclusive interviews focus on questions related to “how” the applicant will apply their skills to perform job tasks (as opposed to asking whether they “can” do the job).
Why is it important?
- Committing to inclusive hiring practices increases your ability to tap into a substantial pool of talented candidates, ultimately creating a diverse workforce that is better able to innovate, create, and perform.
- Knowing how to incorporate inclusive practices in interviewing can create opportunities to ensure equitable access for new hires, and to help alleviate awkward or uncomfortable situations.
- Failure to use inclusive methods (or the active use of discriminatory methods) may lead to legal liability as a result of failure to accommodate or a failure to meet accessibility legislation.
Sample Interviewing Policy
The following policy sample should be added to your larger hiring and recruitment policy. This larger policy should address the rules your organization will follow with respect to hiring and recruitment, the purpose of the policy, who the policy applies to in your workforce, who will be responsible for what obligations under the policy, and the procedures that must be followed under the policy in administering the hiring and recruitment process (including how applications will be assessed).
When contacted for an interview, job applicants will be advised that [Name of Organization] has an accommodation policy and asked whether the applicant requires accommodation to participate in the hiring process.
[Name and/or Position A] will evaluate the job applicant’s request for accommodation and may request more information from the applicant to facilitate the accommodation. If a request for accommodation is denied, the reasons why will be clearly communicated to the job applicant.
Putting it into Practice
- Before scheduling interviews, review the screening process to ensure it is not working against the inclusive hiring process. For example, avoid making assumptions about a candidate from information such as addresses, pronouns, name, title, educational institution, or resume format. If screening interviews by telephone, be conscious that for some candidates with disabilities, the playing field might not be level (and determine appropriate alternative methods of communication if appropriate).
- When scheduling interviews, ask if the applicant has any accommodation needs. Changes may need to be made to the interview location, format, material, etc. and the person may wish to bring a support person with them. Be prepared to be flexible.
- Discuss with front office staff how to interact appropriately with people with disabilities and service animals (if applicable) before the interview takes place.
- Focus on consistency. The interview process should be consistent for all applicants, regardless of gender, race, or disability. Ask all candidates the same set of questions and use their answers in a scoring system rating to see whose abilities most closely match the job description.
- Be aware of your personal assumptions and bias, and how these may influence your decision. For example, there are many ways that people express themselves through body language and non-verbal communication. A candidate who avoids eye contact may not be interpreted correctly depending on your lens and understanding of their background, culture, and personal experience.
- Use Hire for Talent’s “Conducting Successful Interviews” resources at www.hirefortalent.ca:
- Useful interview tips:
- Ask a colleague or co-interviewer to provide a different perspective.
- Ask all interview candidates the same questions and ensure all questions relate to the job position only. It’s always helpful to explain the whole process to candidates to shape realistic expectations and reduce misunderstandings.
- Ask questions that focus on ‘how’ applicants will apply skills or ‘how’ they would handle a particular situation. It reinforces the value of transferable skills.
- Be aware of what you can and cannot ask during a job interview, and only ask for what is relevant to the job (Accessible Employers has a helpful guide of questions that can and cannot be asked in interviews at www.accessibleemployers.ca)
- In order to test skills versus relying on questions, consider a working interview that allows a manager to test the specific skills needed for the role (www.hirefortalent.ca)