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Will LGBTQ+ candidates apply?

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By now, you should be well aware of the benefits of a diverse and inclusive workforce. However, you, and many others, may still be making it hard for a wide array of people to find, get excited by, and apply to your job adverts. Worse still, the actual hiring process, from that first CV send to the offer stage, may be even more off-putting. You shouldn’t start feeling bad just yet — you could be making your roles unattractive without even realising it.

Many of us say they struggle to find candidates from diverse backgrounds (well, around a third of us according to LinkedIn). But is this ‘shortage’ non-existent, and the problem actually lies in our recruitment?

Here are a few watch-outs you can check to make sure you’re creating the most inclusive and attractive recruitment strategy for LGBTQ+ candidates.

Make your pride clear

It’s so often the case that organisations will hide the causes they back and the beliefs they have on their ‘about us’ page or in a brochure tucked away nicely in a dusty corner of your intranet. What about leading with your beliefs and values for a change?

If you make it clear everyone has a seat at the table regardless of who they are from the get-go, there will never be a question hovering over your culture and values. Make it clear from the very first interaction that you support everyone and anyone, and that their preferences won’t play a part in any of your decisions.

An easy way to do this is to have an LGBTQ+ policy that’s easily accessible, even to those outside your organisation. Here, you can display your support, and on an internal version, explain what the rules are when it comes to protecting and supporting LGBTQ+ colleagues.

Check your job ad gender

Yes, job adverts have genders. The words you use can make a job ad sound more masculine or more feminine, so you’ll really need to think about the language you choose not just for LGBTQ+ candidates, but indeed every single person you advertise to. By aiming for a gender-neutral advert, you won’t be putting anyone off — a simple fix!

But how can I check if my job advert is gender neutral, I hear you scream? We’ve got a handy tool for that...

Make sure your team is on the bus

Your new approach to recruiting with pride in mind needs to reflect on your existing culture. Make sure everyone is up to speed with what your new vision looks like and answer any questions, queries and concerns before you make changes.

Gather input from as many people as you can and ask them if they think it matches their experiences and expectations — you may find what you think looks ‘good’ is actually far removed from what your current employees may have experienced or still experience. And don’t just ask your LGBTQ+ employees — everyone has a valid opinion and their own take.

You should also make sure everyone who works in your business is fully trained when it comes to diversity and inclusion. Sometimes an innocent remark or even a reaction-provoking statement or question can foster animosity, so having a set training module that highlights what is cool and what isn’t goes a long way.

Think about dress code and facilities

This goes way beyond making people feel welcome and comfortable. If you’re still forcing certain genders into particular footwear or outfits, you should probably get with the times. Around 35% of LGBTQ+ respondents in the latest Diva Survey said they’d hidden their orientation and outward appearance to conform to both cultures and dress codes. Imagine being told you can’t express yourself at work?

Most offices also still have a gents, ladies, and a ‘disabled’ bathroom. Why not follow our lead? We’ve renamed one of our bathrooms to be for ‘everyone’, and our disabled bathroom is for the ‘differently abled’. Thinking a little differently can help everyone feel they’re welcome, and that something as basic as nipping to the loo doesn’t have to be another anxiety-inducer.

Now you’re armed with all you need to make sure your approach to recruitment is LGBTQ+ friendly, it’s time to think about how the next generation of applicants will react if you don’t have anything in place at all. We’re already seeing big chucks of the talent pool within Gen Z and Millennials opting for culture, including diversity and inclusion, as more important than salary…

Agree with that? Disagree? As always, let me know on LinkedIn or Twitter to start the debate!

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