DEI Recruitment Guidelines

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What is diversity and why is it important?

Diversity is about including, embracing and empowering a range of people by respecting and appreciating their age, gender, ethnicity, religion, disability, sexual orientation and education.

Diversity is important because everyone deserves to have the same opportunities in the workplace. However, due to discrimination, prejudice and systemic racism, this is rarely the case. So, if a workplace promotes diversity and inclusion
(D&I) through actionable initiatives, it can help provide opportunities for those from underrepresented groups.

Everyone brings a unique perspective to the workplace and, if an office is diverse, these different perspectives can make organizations stronger and more successful. There have been many studies to support this, one being the McGregor-Smith Review, which found that the benefit of having a representative black and ethnic minority workforce adds an additional £24bn a year to the UK economy, or 1.3% of GDP[1]

The below links offer useful further reading about diversity in the workplace:

CIPD Diversity Factsheet

This provides a good introduction and overview for HR professionals and those in management. It includes a factsheet about the basics of diversity, information about building inclusive workplaces, D&I in the time of coronavirus, benefits and managing D&I.

ACAS – Improving EDI In Your Workplace

This page provides information for employers about checking existing D&I policies, making sure workplaces are inclusive and processes to follow if workers feel excluded.

Stonewall – LGBT In Britain Work Report

A report about people who identify as LGBTQ+ and the discrimination they face in the workplace (also deals with the intersection between sexuality and race).

Forbes – Four Ways You Can Tackle Racial Discrimination In Your Workplace

A US-centric article written in the context of the Black Lives Matter protests of June 2020 – it lists some good ideas about how employees can tackle discrimination within the workplace.

Our Responsibility in recruitment

If you recruit for your business, you can have a direct impact on the social mobility of someone from an underrepresented group. You do this by opening up job opportunities that they may not have had otherwise.

An opportunity to work will not only positively impact a person’s financial security, but also opens up networking opportunities, the possibility for career development and other social benefits. Conversely, if you don’t promote diversity in your hiring practices, jobseekers from underrepresented groups may continue to not have access to these opportunities.

The Civil Rights Act

The following information about the Civil Rights Act and how it relates to recruitment has been taken from the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).

Legally, unlawful discrimination is dealt with under the Civil Rights Act. There are eight protected characteristics:

• Race
• Color
• Religeon
• National origin
• Sex (gender identity, sexual orientation):
• Disability
• Age
• Genetic information

This law also prevents retaliation against people who complain, file a charge or participate in an investigation or lawsuit about discrimination. Other laws enforced by the EEOC prevent many forms of discrimination. Some are listed below.

The EEOC defines discrimination as:

• Unfair treatment
• Harassment
• Denial of reasonable workplace change needed because of religious beliefs or disability
• Improper questions about disclosure of your medical information or family medical history

Unconscious Bias

Unconscious bias refers to the biases and beliefs we hold about certain groups of people, without being aware of them. This isn’t just about race or nationality. It could be sexuality, gender or age. Unconscious bias can play a big part in recruitment, especially when it comes to dealing with candidates. Common forms of unconscious bias in the hiring process include:

Education bias

For example, assuming that because a candidate went to a good university, they’ll be smarter than someone who went to a smaller/less well-known university.

Gender bias

For example, assuming that because a candidate is male, they are a better suited to a management role than a female.

Experience bias

For example, assuming that because a candidate has many years of experience, they will be better qualified for the role than someone who doesn’t.

Enthusiasm bias

For example, assuming that because someone is outgoing and friendly in an interview, they will be better for a job than someone who is quieter.

‘Like me’ bias

For example, assuming that because someone is like you (or you can picture yourself being friends with them), they will be better for a job than someone who is different to you.

Remember – it’s about a candidate’s achievements and skills, rather than their race, education level, sexual orientation, gender or age.


Asking structured interview questions, with clearly defined standards based on the requirements of the role, can help remove unconscious bias in interviewing. If you are not confident that you or your interviewers can do this, you may want to prepare a list of approved interview questions.  This can also help eliminate biases, as it minimizes the chance of straying into territory which will bias the interviewer against the candidate. Remember, the questions asked in an interview should directly relate to the requirements of the role.

Examples of good interview questions:

Tell me about a time you have had to use your initiative to resolve a difficult situation?

This question speaks directly to a candidate’s ability to think independently and creatively.

How would you describe your managerial style?

If the role is in a management capacity, asking this question to all candidates will give you an indication of how they have stepped up to show key leadership skills.

Give me an example of where you’ve worked well with a team?

If the role requires teamwork, this will allow the candidate to display their ability to work well and cooperate.

Give me an example of where you’ve used X software/program in the past?

If the candidate needs to demonstrate they have a certain level of experience/skill with a particular program or type of software, this is a great question to find out exactly how they have used it in their previous roles.

Tell me about a time you’ve used your creativity to overcome a dilemma?

This is a good question that will help assess a candidate’s problem-solving skills.

Tell me about a time you made a mistake? How did you work to rectify it?

This is a good question to ask within a professional context, as it will assess their ability to handle difficult situations and to learn from their failures.

Can you tell me how you manage conflicting priorities and delegation?

This question is appropriate for a manager/supervisor level role, as task delegation will be essential.

The above questions relate specifically to particular skills/requirements of a role, rather than their personal life.

When it comes to bad interview questions, these typically include anything that will unfairly bias the interviewer against the candidate. As you can see from the below examples, these include anything that will cause the candidates to reveal personal details. These have no bearing on the requirements of the role, which should be in the main focus of the interview.

Examples of bad interview questions:

If I polled everyone you’ve ever worked with, what percentage would not be a fan of yours?

This has no relevance to the requirements of a role, it is too personal and can lead candidates to reveal possible points of discrimination they’ve experienced.

Tell me about the relationships you’ve had with the people you’ve worked with.

Similar to the above, this question can reveal discrimination the candidate has experienced.

Tell me about your home life?

Even though this seems harmless, it’s important to steer away from personal details that aren’t related to the role’s requirements.

I’m interviewing X number of people for this job – why should I hire you?

Forcing a candidate to compare themselves to other candidates is not helpful and may encourage an answer that relates to personal information or a protected characteristic.

What can you tell me about your childhood?

Again, this question forces the candidate to reveal personal information that has no bearing on their current personality or the requirements of the role.

All of the above questions ask the candidate to reveal information that the interviewer could use to prejudice them. As a rule, steer away from questions that reveal personal information and have no relation to the role itself.

Job Advertisements

Be very careful with the language you use in your job ad, as there are certain words that attract different jobseekers. For example, a woman is less likely to apply to a job if it has words like ‘ninja’ or ‘rockstar’ in it, while phrases like ’enthusiastic young people’ can put off certain age groups.

This is also the case for listing job requirements in a job ad. Men are more likely to apply for a role if they meet some of the ‘essential’ job requirements, whereas women will often only apply if they fulfil all of them. So, splitting these into ‘essential’ and ‘desired’ skills will encourage more women to apply for your role.

According to the Equality Act 2010 (via the REC), the publishing of a discriminatory job ad is not illegal under the Act, however an employer can be liable for discrimination if the wording used indicates there is an intention to discriminate because of a protected characteristic.

When advertising for your role, seek out candidates from underrepresented groups where possible. This can be done by posting to a variety of different job boards, or asking candidates from underrepresented groups to make referrals.

Applying D&I Policy to Recruitment

If you’re looking to change your recruitment process to help eliminate biases, below are some effective tools to do so:

Blind resumes

Reporting on applicants

Skills testing

Creating a role-based scorecard for interviews

Diversity targets

Where do we start?

According to the CIPD[3], the approach to progressing diversity and inclusion in your workplace should be systematic. Businesses need to ensure their culture, employee processes and interpersonal interactions are all taken into account.

To do this:

Areas for improvement may include communication, behaviour in the workplace and learning and development. Any action or initiative put in place should be regularly reviewed and measured against set objectives.

Diversity At Tiger

Tiger Recruitment embraces diversity and aims to promote the benefits of diversity and inclusion in all of our business activities. We seek to develop a business culture that reflects that belief and we understand our responsibility within the recruitment sector to encourage diversity in businesses.

We will promote diversity for our staff, workers and applicants and are committed to help ensure that our clients meet their own diversity targets (via our Diversity and Inclusion Plan, available on request at Some of the initiatives we have put in place include:

Take a look at our D&I website page for more resources.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Read some of our most frequently asked questions on DEI below.





Author Amy Laiker Tiger Recruitment Team

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