What is inclusive recruitment?

Inclusive recruitment is essential to attract, and retain, a broad spectrum of talent to ensure that the social justice sector is truly representative at a senior level.

February marks LGBT+ History Month, an opportune time to reflect on diversity and the challenges that marginalised communities can still face in their career. Personally, as a proud member of the LGBT+ community, neurodivergent, and an immigrant, I hold the values and importance of inclusive recruitment not just professionally, but on a personal level, through lived-experience.

When partnering with our non-profit clients, we set out to ensure that all aspects of the recruitment process is fair, for all groups of people – this is what inclusive recruitment is all about. In order to achieve this, we all need to ensure we make modifications to the recruitment process, so that everyone has have equal opportunities to participate.

Why is diversity important in social justice organisations?

20th February also marks World Day of Social Justice, which celebrates social justice as a central tenant of achieving peace and security globally.

Understanding intersectionality is a key drive of social justice. Intersectionality refers to the way in which systems of inequality based on gender, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender identity, disability, class and other forms of discrimination often intersect to create unique dynamics and effects.

The benefits of having diverse and inclusive organisations are widely known. Workforce diversity and inclusion are key drivers of internal innovation and organisational growth, especially when diverse voices are represented at a senior level.

Championing intersectionality in the very foundations of your organisation will help you reach the people you need to achieve your vision, encouraging society and the economy to function more cohesively.

No single action will solve the problem of a lack of diversity in our sector.

But by taking inclusive recruitment seriously we can at least start to reduce the diversity deficit.

“If you don’t know where you are going, you’ll end up somewhere else!”

What are some common barriers to inclusive recruitment?

Working with a broad range of social justice charities, I can see where some are succeeding and others are struggling, or failing, to embrace and action inclusive recruitment.

An example is a lack of diversity metrics and regularly monitor progress. My mother always used to say, “if you don’t know where you are going, you’ll end up somewhere else!” If you are not setting measurable goals for diversity and inclusion within the organisation’s recruitment efforts, and track and analyse recruitment metrics, including demographic data of applicants and hires, surely you won’t know where to start or move to in this journey to being more inclusive. Making these changes will allow you to regularly review and adjust recruitment strategies based on data insights to improve diversity outcomes.

Have your hiring managers had diversity and inclusion training? For example, providing training on unconscious bias and its impact on the recruitment process can help to equip hiring managers with strategies to mitigate bias during candidate evaluation and selection.

You’re never too old to learn new tricks – having undertaken unconscious bias training myself, it was amazing how much it helped foster and amplify greater awareness and understanding of diverse perspectives and experiences.

3 steps you can take towards inclusive recruitment.

  1. Diversify job descriptions and advertisements.

  • Avoid gendered language and biased terminology: You can avoid using language that refers explicitly or implicitly to only one gender and ensuring, through inclusive alternatives, the use of gender-sensitive and inclusive language. Here’s a useful toolkit on gender-sensitive communication.
  • Showcase your commitment to diversity and inclusion. What are your public views and statements on this, and are they prominent in your materials?
  • Highlight the value of diverse perspectives in achieving the organisation’s mission. Sharing the personal stories of your staff (with permission of course!) can be a really effective way of connecting your audience with your values, attracting a more diverse candidate pool and fostering an open internal culture.
  1. Create inclusive interview processes.

  • Standardise interview questions to ensure consistency and fairness across candidates. If you are working with an executive search partner, they will assist in the development of these.
  • Train interviewers on inclusive interviewing techniques. We work closely with our clients to ensure that they assess candidates based on job-related criteria, that’s adapted to the needs of the role and needs.
  • Ensure equal opportunity access to the interview process. Offering accommodations for candidates with disabilities or specific needs is just one example of ensuring equality in the interview process. It’s important to have a contact who applicants can trust for an informal conversation around adapting the process to specific needs is highly important too.
  1. Cultivate an inclusive organisational culture.

  • Foster an environment where all employees feel valued, respected, and included.
  • Provide opportunities for professional development and advancement for individuals from underrepresented backgrounds.
  • Encourage open dialogue and feedback regarding diversity and inclusion initiatives and be responsive to employee concerns.


James Hunt is our Head of Not for Profit Appointments, a senior executive search recruitment specialist supporting the not for profit sector since 2005. With a love for finding passionate and talented people, matchmaking leaders, experts and teams in executive appointments. You can connect with James on LinkedIn, or email him at james@peridotpartners.co.uk to start an informal chat about your career or recruitment needs.