This is the first in a series of blogs where I will be outlining common themes I have been coming across from speaking with different organisations, particularly within the engineering and construction sector. This blog focuses on inclusive recruitment.
Recruitment. The way we get talent into our organisations. Some organisations do it direct, whilst many complement direct talent sourcing by using intermediate recruitment consultancies. This can be for sourcing both employees and contractors. Engineering and construction is very contractor driven, and so the more tenured you are, the more likely you are to be a contractor. For contractors, is the drive to join companies, or projects? What are the value propositions that drive decision making when selecting between different opportunities? Is it simply who pays the most? In an industry which is low margin, high risk, there is not that much difference on a pay basis for differentiation. Reputation, attitude, and “how will I be treated and valued?” must be considerations in making the decision for who you are going to work for.
Engineering and construction are waking up to the fact that inclusion is a business imperative. The Royal Academy of Engineering and the Construction Industry Council are each doing good work in this area.
Recruitment is where you market your brand to attract talent. Prospective candidates will window shop at the opportunities you have available, and will dig deeper to see if what you say is in fact the lived reality for existing employees or contractors. This is a common approach for millennials when reviewing which companies they will join. Have you sorted out that social media strategy? Does it best reflect your company? Are you losing out to competitors in the war on talent?
Recruitment consultants are typically paid on commission. Therefore, they will strive to obtain a diverse portfolio of candidates if this is what is being requested. However, feedback is that the issue is getting candidates interviewed.
Some recruitment agencies are taking a lead on D&I, they listen to their clients and deliver a diverse range of candidates for consideration for interview: they are widening the funnel. Figure 1 illustrates importance of having a broad diverse talent pool coupled with a broad channel indicative of a selection process free from bias.
However, clients need to ensure that the channel up which people are recruited is widening in proportion. Companies using recruitment agencies need to ensure that they are offering opportunities to the diverse range of individuals on offer to them. They need to ensure that, despite having a diverse range of individuals available, bias of selecting-in for the same type of person is challenged and eradicated. The channel for sourcing talent is widening, but is the funnel bringing people onboard widening in proportion? Hiring managers need to ensure they are truly considering the workforce demography of the future, as opposed to selecting in for the best “fit” based on the current demography.
Recruitment is becoming increasingly transactional. A good recruitment consultant builds a rapport with their prospective candidates and sells their skills to clients. Consider that for one position, this could mean a consultant going through 300 CVs, scheduling 10 interviews (for example). Clients need to give feedback on why people have not been selected for positions. This provides the consultant with the information necessary to give candidates feedback. It has been indicated that recruitment consultancies will only get feedback from hiring managers if the recruitment managers have a personal connection there. Do not underestimate the damage which can be done to your brand through mishandling talent. People remember how they feel on how they were treated during an interview process, and they may be your future clients. Providing feedback on why candidates did not get a job with open and honest constructive feedback will do good for your brand.
How are you offering a diverse range of candidates to clients? The challenges is that clients want to see more diverse candidates, but how are you ensuring there is a wide enough channel heading up the pipeline?
Projects, companies and joint ventures should avoid box ticking and know which sites are inclusive and where they can be pioneering in trying out new initiatives smoothly. Or, be daring and try out new approaches and be more disruptive with your work culture. Provide opportunity to those groups which are in need of some positive action. For example, the British Military provide ex-offenders opportunities. Recruitment consultancies can be innovative in how they procure talent and offer suggestions to their clients for sources of talent.
Seven helpful tips for inclusive recruitment
What can in-house recruitment teams and recruitment consultancies do to better inclusion?
- Offer a diverse range of candidates to your clients for interview
- Be creative in the channels through which you source talent
- Be cognisant that candidates will do their own desktop research of your clients and the culture with which they will be joining. Be open and honest about what you know to avoid ‘smoke and mirrors’
- Take a lead on supporting your clients in inclusive recruitment and interviewing strategies if they are unsure of what to do
- Ask candidates on your database to answer an Equal Employment Opportunities questionnaire which you will store anonymously
- Audit your own supply chain to ensure smaller contractors and outfits are using the best practice on inclusion being used on major capital projects. Think of this in the same way you would audit on health and safety standards.
- Invest in the training of both hiring managers and recruiters to ensure they are on top of best practice for optimising candidate selection to help widen the funnel.
McBride-Wright has access to industry leading groups representing underrepresented groups within engineering and construction. If you would like more help or advice on inclusive recruitment then click here to find out more, or get in touch to discuss out how we can help you become a first-class talent sourcing outlet attracting a diverse range of candidates.
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