Is Inclusive Recruiting Right for Your Company?

Thinking unconventionally to erase talent shortages.

By Alexander Alonso, SHRM-SCP February 26, 2019
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​With an estimated 7.8 million jobs to be filled between now and 2020, traditional methods of employee selection are becoming obsolete. Today, organizations are recruiting and hiring people almost sight unseen, assessing their viability and fit based on their first year on the job. Employers are hiring without interviews, background checks or experience requirements. The shift from rigorous selection to inclusive recruitment is clearly underway.

Research confirms that companies are exploring a host of options to overcome the talent shortage. A recent Society for Human Resource Management poll of employers found that organizations are considering changing their hiring and recruiting practices to cast a wider net by devoting more attention to contingent labor, retirees and other nontraditional workers.

As the trend toward inclusive recruitment became more salient throughout 2018 and its impact spread, it became apparent that the bull market for workers has made it much more tolerable for employers to take hiring risks. After all, the worst outcome for organizations during a tight labor market is the failure to land top talent. As a result, certain aspects of recruitment and onboarding have taken on new meaning. And hiring practices need to change, too.

Whether or not your organization is struggling to find talent, it’s critical to examine your hiring practices. It’s the best way to ensure your company’s relevance and sustainability. Standard operating procedures for hiring might look good today, but you may be compromising your future by not adapting to new trends quickly enough. During a talent shortage, adaptation means survival of the fittest.


Here are three important factors for organizations to consider:

  1. Relevance. Is the shift to inclusive recruitment right for your workforce needs? As always, the short answer is “It depends.” In your organization, do personality and experience contribute to performance, or are they largely irrelevant? These factors, which are given less weight under an inclusive recruiting model, may not matter in some jobs and industries, but in others, such as the financial sector, they may be paramount.

  2. Rigor. Is the shift due to faults in the “rigor” aspect of rigorous selection? Readers of Personnel Psychology have seen a hundred years of evidence supporting the impact of, and advancements in, successful selection processes. But what about the end-users of those processes? Have organizations seen significantly improved decisions and quality of hires over the decades? My fellow industrial-organizational psychologists who build validated selection instruments to enhance decision-making may be shocked to hear that many of today’s end-users don’t think so.

  3. Permanence. Is the shift permanent? Definitely not. Organizations adapt their practices to head off the most critical threats to their sustainability. The talent shortage is only the latest threat. Quite honestly, it’s proving to be a good thing, forcing our profession to evolve to support a broader audience.

The evolution from rigorous selection to inclusive recruitment is only our most recent test of fitness. How will your organization survive?

Alexander Alonso, SHRM-SCP, is chief knowledge officer for SHRM.

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