Pride Month: Tips for More Inclusive Recruitment in the UK Tech Space

Sofia Imtiaz Salesforce Consultant
Sofia Imtiaz

We all know that Diversity and Inclusion is pivotal to creating a work environment that both healthy and stimulating. A business that wants to develop an open-minded and accepting company culture can face years of hard work and planning to achieve it. However, tech companies in the UK and across the world are failing from the first hurdle which is recruitment.

Almost a third of LGBTQ+ students have openly said that they would avoid a career in tech which means that there are definite systematic issues with the tech industry’s recruitment strategies. Unless companies take an active stance to make sure that the hiring process is devoid of all inherent biases then there will continue to be an imbalance across the tech workspace.

According to a study by Stonewall one in five members of the LGBTQ+ community have reported experiencing discrimination when being interviewed or when applying for a job. Businesses along with anyone involved in the hiring process needs to take a conscious stand in order to make sure that no candidate feels vulnerable, exploited or embarrassed while looking for a new role.

Due to all of this, the entire tech industry needs to take unified and conscious action to overhaul hiring processes. We’ve seen a lot of companies voice their support throughout Pride Month, and while that is a great platform to discuss LGBTQ+ issues, it’s important that strategies devised by industry voices help the community all throughout the year.

So how can tech companies apply a mindset that’s more inclusive to their hiring practices?

1.     Sharing pronouns

Not all gestures need to be big, small ones can go a long way and have a significant impact. By sharing one’s pronouns on their LinkedIn profile, Twitter bio, or e-mail signature there’s an immediate display of awareness. It signals to potential hires that they can be comfortable applying for a role with your business regardless of their sexual orientation or preferred pronouns.

Having and displaying respect for each person’s identity is essential in any business. To foster a culture that’s inclusive and respectful your business can do so from the onset of your working relationship- the interview process. When you share your own pronouns in the early stages of the recruitment process will ensure that both parties that enter the process know there’s no predetermines bias applied.

This is especially important for those candidates going through, or that have gone through gender transition. Recruiters and hiring managers shouldn’t refer to candidates by their dead name (the candidate’s name before transitioning) even if it still appears in official documents. Deadnaming or misgendering a candidate could easily affect them, impacting how they perform in an interview, or even going as far as hindering their chance at a successful application.

2.     Use gender-neutral language in ads and job descriptions

All of the language that we use on a daily basis in gender coded, which can often result in being exclusionary. By using gender-neutral language, it’s suggested to potential hires that the company and the recruiter are welcoming to LGBTQ+ employees.

A candidate’s perception of the business and role starts from advertisements and job descriptions. Factors such as salary and employee benefits are used to attract candidates and the same metrics need to be applied to candidates that are part of the LGBTQ+ community so they are not put off from applying.

3.     Make sure you don’t ask discriminatory questions in the interview

The questions you ask in your interview will determine whether you prevent the “mini-me” syndrome, which is where employers hire employees that are similar to themselves. Making sure that the questions you ask are professional and relevant is one of the final steps for creating an inclusive recruitment process.

It is essential that any topics that could be discriminatory in any way are completely avoided. These topics can include more obvious topics like their political views, religious beliefs, or sexual orientation, but there are other less obvious ones such as asking the candidate whether they have or want kids, or questioning the way they look. All interview questions need to remain professional. You need to focus your questions on the skills needed for the role and how the candidate fits into the culture of your company. You can determine all of this without asking triggering or personal questions.

By ensuring the above is abided by, tech companies can address in a systematic way the way they bring on new employees. Not only that, but the steps they’ve already taken to make sure that any LGBTQ+ potential hires are made to feel comfortable can be measured. Further steps can be taken as well, such as providing training and workshops to educate new employees about inclusive leadership. This can make sure that all employees are made aware of how to avoid discriminatory behaviour in the workplace.

Even though steps have been taken to improve the tech space for LGBTQ+ hires and potential hires, the UK tech space needs to continue supporting and encouraging diversity, from the very beginning: the recruitment process.