4 simple ways to avoid social discrimination in your business

Here's how employers can ensure their hiring and interview processes are entirely free from social discrimination.

Diversity and inclusivity are undoubtedly critical topics within any business; we have generally become engrossed in the vitality of equality – insisting that all sexes, ages, races and religious orientations are treated with a consistent degree of respect and appreciation.

However, it appears that whilst there are ongoing fights for equality among many, the battle for social equality has largely been forgotten; as a consequence, social discrimination – the differential treatment of a person based on their social class, cultural background and education – remains to be a persistent hurdle for many within the workplace.

In an article published in The Independent, research demonstrated that graduates with richer families go on to earn up to ten percent more than graduates on the same course, from any other background. Similarly, BBC news reported that the wealthiest students continue to have an advantage in their future employment, keeping them ahead of students from middle-class and low-income families.

According to Jack Britton, of the Institute for Fiscal Studies, these findings continue to reflect the persistence of “social immobility”; highlighting the need for improved awareness among employers with regards to social equality regulations and consensus, particularly in an attempt to eliminate potential complaints.

As a business owner it is important to be vigilant with the way your organisation is run. So to avoid any discriminatory behaviour we have outlined four simple ways by which employers can ensure their hiring and interview processes are entirely free from any resemblance of social discrimination.

Create a detailed description of the job role and responsibilities

It is essential when advertising a position, for all job functions and duties to be clearly listed. This allows candidates to decipher with more accuracy, their suitability for the position. It is then vital that employers remain objective when selecting skills, and ensure that people from differing backgrounds can fill the role. You should explain why each trait is important; outlining which skills are ‘essential’ and which are merely ‘desirable’.

Determine educational and experiential requirements early

When listing requirements for a position, namely desired qualifications, it is vital that an employer solely requests those essential to successfully fulfil the tasks of the job. Asking for greater qualifications than the position in fact requires may eliminate certain candidates from applying; an eventuality which may subsequently be construed as a consequence of discrimination.

Screening candidates

Outsourcing companies to screen references and perform background checks takes the power out of your hands. Ensure that if you do use a separate company they fully comply with promoting diversity and inclusivity, because you may be held liable for their actions. Otherwise, keep it in-house and use software, it cut costs and speeds up the process whilst ensuring discrimination is eliminated.

Ask the same, appropriate interview questions to all candidates

Prior to interview, it is recommended that the employer creates a list of questions based on their analysis of the position; these must be consistent, and delivered to all candidates. It is critical that these are not related to race, colour, social status, ethnicity, gender, religion, age, or anything that may be classed as discriminatory. Include questions that reference previous work experience, potential job scenarios and those designed to assess a candidate’s abilities in general. It is also vital that all applicants have equal opportunity to actively participate in the interview, engage with the employer, and explain why they are the perfect choice to fill the role.

Organise for another interviewer to be present, if possible

Having a witness accompany the employer during interview, be this a colleague or human resources representative, is sure to help prevent confusion and accusations of discrimination. Their contribution will prove invaluable should it be necessary for them to assist in proving that the process was handled fairly and in the absence of discriminatory themes.

Simon Houlton is the CEO of www.iscreenyouscreen.com.

Praseeda Nair

Praseeda Nair

Praseeda was Editor for GrowthBusiness.co.uk from 2016 to 2018.