This is a guest contribution by Chris Stappard, Managing Director of Edward Reed Recruitment. Here, he shares what you can do to help your recruitment company find more diverse talent to fill your roles.

Gender diversity is essential if you want your business to be successful. On average, companies with a more diverse executive board can receive higher earnings and returns on equity, according to a report from McKinsey & Company.

Unfortunately, the UK’s workforce is still very unbalanced. According to the World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap Reports, the UK has recently fallen from a gender inclusivity rating of 15th place in 2018  to 21st place this year. And, considering 78% of UK companies pay men more money than women (and none pay women more than men), there’s clearly still a long way to go to reach true gender inclusivity in the workplace.

If you’ve hired a recruitment company to fill your roles, you might have given up some control over your recruitment process. But there are still things you can do to help out. Below, I’ll be going through the ways you can help your recruitment company find more diverse candidates for your roles.

Find the right recruiter

The first step on your inclusive recruitment journey is finding the right recruiter. There are tens of thousands of recruitment businesses out there to choose from, but you need to be able to pick one that will suit you best.

First of all, look for a recruiter who specialises or has experience in your industry, as they’ll have a better knowledge of the skills and candidates you’ll be looking for. Usually, a recruiter will have a list of their clients on their website, so you can see what kinds of industries they’re used to dealing with.

Once you’ve found one you think would suit your company, you’ll want to know if they can embrace diversity and inclusivity. This can be hard to tell just from their website, but they might have a staff profiles page you can take a look at to see how inclusive they are in their own company. You could also ask them what percentage of roles they’ve filled with women. If it’s high, or at least almost 50%, you know they’ll be more likely to deliver on diversity.

Be transparent

During the recruitment process, it’s important that you remain transparent with your recruitment company. Let them know what your ideal candidate would look like by writing a clear job description, but try to focus only on skills and qualifications. Avoid phrases like “we’re looking for a strong leader”, as research has shown that phrases like this can be seen as masculine and you could be jeopardising your whole process. Textio, is a software tool that can help you check for male or female coded language, or you can use a free gender decoder such as the one from Kat Matfield.

If you’re not sure about a candidate they’ve recommended, be open and honest about why you think they don’t fit the role. Doing this will make it a lot easier for your recruiter to find the right candidate in the future, and they’ll be grateful for your honesty. Remember, they can’t find you the perfect candidate if they don’t know exactly what you’re looking for.

Be responsive

Your work with a recruitment agency is a partnership so, not only should you be able to give constructive and honest feedback, but you should be open and responsive to feedback, too. Your recruiter might be able to spot an area that’s holding you back from being more inclusive, or areas that might be putting people off your roles. So, you should be willing to accept their feedback and alter your recruitment process to fit, whether that’s by changing your job description or making some changes to your company culture.

As gender inclusivity becomes a big factor for the UK workforce, it might be time to change your recruitment. By following the tips above, you can work together with your recruitment agency to hire a more diverse team.

Guest Author bio: Chris Stappard has over 4 years’ experience in the recruitment industry. After founding his own company, Edward Reed Recruitment, Chris has gone on to have many successful business acquisitions, focusing mainly on mid-senior management and executive positions. Chris often shares his expertise in this sector to provide high-quality advice which is beneficial to job seekers and businesses alike.

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Author: Inge Woudstra

Would you like to know more or have a question? I am always happy to have a chat to discuss your needs. Why not drop me a line or pick up the phone? Call me at 01372 457 907 or Just contact me to discuss your requirements by e-mail.

I can help you recruit, retain and advance women, and typically work with organisations in tech and engineering.

Or just check out my book 'Be Gender Smart - The Key to Career Success for Women'

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