Discrimination and diversity in the workplace

Posted on Tuesday, November 15, 2022 by EditorNo comments

Discrimination in recruitment and selection is an interesting topic.  It goes without saying, that it is illegal to discriminate.  However, it can be hard to accept that the hiring manager’s ultimate selection of one candidate over others can be entirely free of irrational judgements based on their personal beliefs, perceptions and assumptions  How confident are you that your hiring process is a fair one, free from unconscious bias or discrimination?

The need to have a fair and equitable recruitment process is not to merely meet your legal obligations.  It has been shown in many studies that diverse workplaces generate creativity, initiative and productivity.  And so, an inclusive recruitment strategy is very important to the health of your business.

There are many types of discrimination, including age, sexual orientation, disability and race.  It’s important that you are not only aware of the different types of discrimination but are able to identify and eliminate them in your own recruitment process.

From the moment you receive the resume, you are evaluating and judging the candidate.  The candidate’s name is usually the first opportunity to demonstrate bias.  To overcome this issue, some automated recruitment software systems, now allow applicants to be reviewed without their names displayed.  

However, the same software system will have flaws too.   If the tool is designed to filter out candidates with unemployment gaps of 6 months or more, you will likely be excluding candidates who have been on parental leave.

To avoid discrimination in your recruitment process, it’s best to define both your essential and desirable criteria.  This will give you a framework against which to assess your diverse pool of candidates.  The process of shortlisting and eliminating candidates based on defined criteria is greatly simplified.

During the interview phase, you will avoid falling into discriminatory potholes if you have a defined set of questions asked of all candidates.  It is definitely not okay to ask a woman if she intends to start a family!

There are some limited circumstances when positive discrimination is permitted.  This is referred to as an ‘occupational requirement’.  An example might be where an organisation that campaigns for LGBTQA+ rights, detrmines that their Chair should be LGBTQA themselves.

Ensuring your hiring process is free of discrimination is healthy for your workplace and your brand.  Adopting hiring best practices will help you achieve this.  Remember, the applicants are forming an opinion of you and your company too.  Treating them with fairness, respect and dignity will ensure your business stands out a desirable place to work, especially in this current candidate-short marketplace.


Tim O’Brien

Director and Business Talent Scout

Jobs In Central Queensland

Connect with me for advice or assistance:

Email: tim@jobsincentralqueensland.net.au

Web: JobsInCQ.net.au

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