Fair Hiring Practices: 7 Ways to Ensure Fair Hiring in Your Organisation
As companies globally navigate recovery in the new normal, hiring the best talent is now more critical than ever. However, it has also become more challenging, especially with hurdles like going digital, attracting Gen Z to your workplace, and dealing with the Great Resignation. Likewise, recruitment is more than just finding the right people with the qualifications, experience, and competencies you need. Research shows companies with a diverse workforce are 35% more likely to experience greater financial performance than their respective non-diverse counterparts.
In fact, fair hiring is among the trends that are becoming more prevalent as companies search for the “best hire.” Hiring the wrong person will not only put a dent in company funds, but will also lead to lost time, decreased productivity, and low morale. As such, solutions such as fair hiring practices can address flaws that may be present in the recruitment process and open companies up to more talent.
Not sure if your company is already implementing effective fair hiring practices? Here’s a quick guide to help you understand what constitutes fair hiring, why it’s important for your organisation, and how to ensure these practices are being implemented.
(Read more: How To Prevent Workplace Discrimination)
What is fair hiring?
In a nutshell, fair hiring refers to promoting and requiring non-discriminatory and inclusive practices in your hiring processes. The goal is to make sure that the company is hiring the best candidater for each role, by not discriminating against any individual or any group of people during the hiring process. Employers are responsible for upholding fair hiring practices as mandated by local and state laws and guidelines.
Aside from job discrimination laws, fair hiring is also rooted in the idea that a candidate must be hired based on merit. Ethnicity, religion, gender, age, or any other quality unrelated to their skills and qualifications should not be considered. Likewise, they cannot be rejected, demoted, or terminated for these reasons.
In Malaysia, the Employment Act 1955 serves as the main legislation regulating labour matters, including employment practices. Other acts, such as the Industrial Relations Act and Social Security Act, help implement best employment practices in the workplace.
Why is fair hiring important?
It’s been broadly reported that a diverse workforce can also increase profitability by 33%. This makes sense, as fair hiring equips companies with a more diverse workforce, enabling better decision making. It boosts the brand reputation of employers at a time when diversity and equal opportunities become increasingly attractive to younger candidates. It incubates smarter, more decisive, and more innovative teams. As a result, employees feel more valued and secure in the company. All these lead to higher employee engagement and lower employee turnover rates, allowing companies to save on hiring costs. Essentially, implementing fair hiring practices makes employers compliant with local and state labour policies.
7 Ways to Ensure Fair Hiring in Your Organisation
Fortunately, more and more companies across the globe are now investing in fair hiring. As such, Malaysian employers have plenty of resources, strategies, and examples to adapt for their company. Below are some of the tried and tested approaches that will ensure fair hiring in the workplace, regardless of the size and nature of the business.
1. Put together a diverse hiring team. Fair hiring practices start with a diverse hiring team. A panel of employees from different backgrounds will bring more perspective to assessing and onboarding the best candidates. It will help avoid unconscious bias and unfair hiring practices in all the steps of the hiring process, from putting together job requirements and responsibilities to interviews and background checks. In addition, a diverse hiring team also serves as the backbone of an inclusive culture for your organisation.
2. Use inclusive language in job ads. Many companies may unintentionally discriminate or discourage top talent from applying the language they use in their job ads. Make sure your postings use neutral and inclusive language and are free of words suggesting bias about age, gender, race, or disability. Obvious examples include using “man” or “men” instead of “person” or “people.”
Some words may also be subconsciously perceived or tied to a specific gender, such as “competitive” for males and “support” for females. If unsure, you can use online tools like workplace language guide Textio to assess the tone of your job listings and descriptions.
(Read more: Overcoming Office Gender Inequality in Asia)
3. Create clear, job-related criteria for shortlisting candidates. Even before the hiring process starts, the hiring team should be ready with the criteria for evaluating and selecting candidates. These criteria should be both job-related and under state and labour regulations.
Hiring experts caution companies against selecting candidates based solely on “culture fit.” Company culture is no doubt integral to employee experience. However, it can also lead hiring managers to bring in people who look, act, and think a lot like everyone else in the company. This hinders the presence of diverse talent who can kickstart innovation and bring fresh ideas to the organisation.
To avoid this, revisit your company values and see if any of them can be reworked into desired skills, competencies, and work experience. Make sure to incorporate them both in the job listing and the employer branding.
4. Make skill assessment a major component of the pre-employment process. Since the goal of fair hiring is to select the best talent based on merit, skill assessment should be at the forefront of the hiring process. This can be achieved through skill testing for both technical and soft or transferable skills. This should help hirers determine if a candidate is suitable for the position and ready for the responsibilities that come with it.
A diverse hiring team should be able to take care of this. The goal is to rank candidates first according to their suitability for the role, not shortlist them yet. But if you want to take it a notch up, there are now Artificial Intelligence-powered testing tools that remove unconscious human bias from the assessment. They can also save time and money for hiring managers since AI can quickly review a multitude of applicants.
5. Incorporate blind hiring practices. This method is likely new for many Malaysian companies, but if you’re looking to try more innovative approaches, blind hiring is still worth a shot. In a nutshell, it involves hiding details or characteristics unrelated to a candidate’s skills, qualifications, and work experience. These include name, education, place of residence, age, gender, and personal interests. The goal is to prevent the hiring team from developing a preference based on factors outside an applicant’s professional suitability for the job.
6. Standardise interviews. Preparing a standard set of interview questions and interview structure is an effective way to maintain fair hiring practices. Allot the same amount of time for all candidates applying for the same position. Instruct interviewers to stay within this standard interview procedure and avoid going off-script. This way, they can avoid asking questions that can be potentially discriminatory or discouraging to applicants.
7. Provide training on fair hiring practices and policies. Lastly, training is also an important part of maintaining fair hiring practices in any organisation. Everyone who has a part in the hiring process should understand the goals and importance of this approach. Likewise, regular check-ins with all employees will ensure awareness about unconscious biases to avoid, and the inclusive work culture that you have envisioned for the company.
As more Malaysian companies move towards post-pandemic recovery, fair hiring practices can help them tap into the advantages of an inclusive workplace. Diverse teams have been found to be smarter, more decisive, and more innovative – qualities that are crucial to the growth of any organisation, big or small. Fair hiring also comes with plenty of benefits, primarily lower hiring costs, higher employee engagement, and a better employer reputation.
With the strategies and goals mentioned above, Malaysian employers should be able to easily integrate this approach into their hiring process. By doing so, they will open their organisation to the wealth of talent, knowledge, and expertise that only diversity can bring.
Ready to establish a more diverse, inclusive, and engaging work culture for your company? Register now on JobStreet and get instant access to over 5 million talent in Malaysia through Talent Search. Make sure to also visit the Employers Insights page to stay updated on the latest talent acquisition and management trends.