Measuring candidates’ openness to diversity & inclusion in selection

Posted on 26 May

Diversity and inclusion are strong contributors to improved performance and profitability for Australian businesses. Many companies are looking for ways to measure a candidate’s openness toward diversity initiatives from a selection process, as often, diversity and inclusion are included in their organisational values.

Not only this, employees are looking for a human-centred and inclusive workplace now more than ever. For a company to live and breathe their values of diversity and inclusion from the recruitment phase can have a positive influence on employee experience.

Companies are approaching People Solutions to measure candidates’ openness to diversity and inclusivity during the psychometric assessment process. Here’s what we recommend:

Define what diversity and inclusion looks like for your business

Before we go any further it’s important to define diversity and inclusion. This may differ slightly from business to business, though, generally, diversity from an organisational point of view refers to variation in a range of characteristics that make people unique. Especially demographic characteristics, such as age, gender, cultural and linguistic background, sexual orientation, and religion. It also encompasses all of the other characteristics employees have, such as skills, personalities, opinions, and experiences. Inclusion can be defined as making someone feel welcome, included and like they belong within your organisation.

A quote from diversity and inclusion expert, Verna Myers, describes this perfectly “Diversity is being invited to the party; inclusion is being asked to dance.”

When defining diversity and inclusion, ask and reflect; what attributes define someone who is inclusive in your business? What are your current diversity targets, ideas, work approach, collaboration, problem-solving style, strategic thinking and where are your gaps? And who will promote and support a diverse and inclusive workplace?

It can be helpful to imagine someone in your business who is an advocate for diversity and inclusion – what attributes do they have and what behaviours do they display? Once these are clear, it can be easier to understand what diversity and inclusion advocates look like, and therefore the attributes that may be best suited for a role within your company.

Measuring diversity and inclusion attributes in candidates

In psychological research terms, an attitude of recognition, acceptance, and inclusivity towards others’ similarities and differences is referred to as a person’s Universal Diverse Orientation (UDO). Being able to understand which traits predict a potential employee’s UDO can help employers to ensure they’re hiring an individual who aligns with their values.

Personality is known to influence decision making, thought processes, and interpersonal style, and can therefore affect an individual’s general attitudes toward diversity and inclusion initiatives and UDO.

Research has found two main personality traits to be positively linked to UDO; Openness to Experience and Agreeableness.

Openness to Experience is defined as being curious, open-minded, and imaginative. Agreeableness is about being cooperative and interpersonally warm and friendly.

Openness to Experience has been shown to be the most relevant personality attribute in predicting receptiveness to diversity, due to its characteristics of exploring and understanding different perspectives and experiences. Positive relationships between Agreeableness and diversity attitudes, as motivated by an interest to care for and empathise with other individuals

Tailoring your psychometric assessment process

There is no one size fits all with psychometric assessments. Therefore, it could be beneficial to partner with a service provider who writes tailored psychometric assessment reports to ensure personality attributes relating to diversity and inclusion attitudes can be highlighted.

Typically interpreted by psychologists, a myriad of information can be gathered and written into a tailored report format. This psychologist does not meet or see the individual, they do not know their previous experience, and most importantly, psychologists are trained on these assessment tools, which can therefore further help to reduce biases in your recruitment process.

In summary

Before assessing attitudes toward diversity and inclusion in your candidates, ensure that diversity and inclusion is defined clearly within your business. Assess your own recruitment process and reduce any biases. If it’s available to you, partner with a service provider like People Solutions where reports are tailored and written by a psychologist who is equipped to map personality profiles to attributes that can influence a person’s attitude toward diversity and inclusion. Modelling your organisational values of diversity and inclusion from the get-go can not only help you to ensure you are hiring a diversity and inclusion advocate, but it can also positively shape your employees’ experience as they journey through your organisation.


By Georgia Nedkoff

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