New hiring methods have helped reduce inequality and open up our roles.

05 gender equality S 08 decent work and economic growth S 10 reduced inequalities S Our impact

Intention

Over the last two years, we have implemented a new hiring process, designed in partnership with Collaborative Future, with significant differences to our previous methodologies. Our intention is to reduce unconscious bias in the process and in turn attract people with different backgrounds to join William Joseph.

The main points include:

Ask people to complete a questionnaire rather than provide their CV for the initial application

This reduces bias towards certain types of organisations that people may have worked for and allows them to illustrate their capabilities and behaviours.

Share interview questions and what you’re looking for from them beforehand

Interviews shouldn’t be a test, they should be a chance for people to shine. Some do that by being put on the spot; the vast majority are better when they’ve had time to prepare their answer. By sharing questions beforehand, it improves the chance of finding someone with the right capabilities, rather than broad confidence.

Pay people for their interview or task time

Preparing for an interview can take hours of people’s time, especially if that involves a specific task. If you don’t pay people for that time, then you are excluding those that don’t have the privilege of enough time to be able to give it away for free. This of course disproportionality impacts those people from the groups that we most need to get into our industries.

Don’t talk to fellow interviewers about your reflections and scores before you have someone to facilitate the conversation in an unbiased way

After an interview, it is natural to want to discuss how a candidate performed. However, by doing so, the loudest or most senior voice often sets the tone for the rest of the perceptions of that person. This means everyone’s points of view can be shaped by that one person’s biases.

Wait until you have a facilitator for that discussion so that everybody’s points are heard and given equal weighting in the decision making process.

Results

While we have increased the geographical spread of our team, we still have gains to make in terms of the diversity of our people. Of the four roles that we have hired since employing this process, three have gone to white cisgender heterosexuals.

While these people are enormously talented and have added an incredible set of skills and perspectives to our group, there is still more we can do to meet people from different backgrounds to our own.

That being said, everyone who has been through the new hiring process has commented on the quality of it and how safe they felt throughout.

During the entire process I did not once hand over a CV, either to Tess or William Joseph. I never brushed off my cover letter. Unconventional, yes, but positively so. While those documents that I so diligently combed over post graduation may speak of my achievements, they could not have told Ellie or James what they learnt of my character or me what I learned of theirs during our recruitment process. And I never had to deal with paper, just people.

Rania Nur, Product Manager, William Joseph, hired through the Collaborative Future programme

What’s next?

Meeting people with new perspectives

We want to further build our networks of people looking for roles in our sector with backgrounds different to our own. Rather than waiting until we want to recruit specific positions, we are aiming to shift to an ‘always on’ model of meeting people who might join us in the future. By being remote-first, we can do this all across the country.

Hiring specialist roles

We are looking at how to more effectively use the same process for more specialist delivery roles, while maintaining the benefits of making less judgements about previous work. This has proven challenging as with production jobs, you need to see the actual work people have delivered in more detail rather than asking questions about it.

Design internship programme

We want to build or contribute to a formal internship programme. There are still not enough people with different backgrounds entering the design and digital industries. We want to do what we can to solve this.