Assessing third-party suppliers to ensure they’re recruiting fairly

fair recruitment

When recruiters are looking for that perfect fit for your role, is DE&I really a factor?

Well research by LinkedIn, surveying 1,500 hiring managers and talent acquisition professionals worldwide, revealed a fifth of recruiters believe DE&I is a higher priority now –  despite growing economic uncertainty. 

But how do the remaining 80 per cent feel about hiring with diversity and inclusion in mind? The truth is: it’s hard to say. 

Which is a problem, really. Especially when the report also suggests that Gen Z are 17 per cent more likely than Gen X to prioritise working for diverse and inclusive organisations; even more vital considering Gen Z will make up almost 30 per cent of the workforce in just two years time.

But beyond simply being the right thing to do – which we know it is, hiring with EDI in mind has countless upsides for your business too. From an increase in innovative thinking to a boost in morale, we’ve gone into more detail about the business benefits of DE&I here.

So with all this in mind, it’s important to ensure third-party suppliers are doing all they can to draw from a diverse pool of talent. In order to get things right, though, there’s a lot to consider. 

Not sure where to start? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. 

Start by establishing clear expectations

First things first, your need to ensure that you’ve defined your own organisation’s commitment to diversity and inclusion. By developing and publishing a clear set of hiring guidelines that emphasise the importance of fair and unbiased recruitment, third-party suppliers will be able to communicate the right message to the market. 

Sounds great, in theory. But how do you ensure supplies are singing from the same hymn sheet when it comes to DE&I?

Set clear and measurable criteria

When reviewing or adding to your preferred supplier list (PSL), it’s important to make sure diversity is a fundamental part of the selection criteria. 

A quick and easy way to start is by checking each organisation has a diversity and inclusive policy on their website – and one that aligns with your own internal guidelines. They do? Great. Then add them to your list.

Then, you can hold suppliers accountable by using their own criteria – incentivising them to achieve diversity goals. You can do this by benchmarking with KPIs, scoring their performance around things like:

  • Diversity sourcing – start by measuring the percentage of diverse candidates that are in the shortlists your recruiters present to you. Essentially, this KPI evaluates their success in proactively seeking and presenting diverse talent.
  • Candidate submissions – you could analyse the ratio of diverse candidates submitted by third-party recruiters compared to the total number of candidates submitted. This metric helps determine if they effectively identify and present diverse candidates for consideration.
  • Interview and placement ratios – evaluate the proportion of diverse candidates who are invited for interviews and, ultimately, placed in positions. This KPI indicates the success of third-party recruiters in advancing diverse candidates through the hiring process.
  • Quality of candidates – assess factors like skills, qualifications, experience and cultural fit. This metric ensures that diversity is not compromised for the sake of numbers.
  • Internal satisfaction – you can also gather qualitative feedback from your own hiring managers who’ve worked directly with suppliers to gauge the overall diversity and inclusiveness of the candidates presented. 
  • Long-term retention – numbers looking good? That’s great. But be sure to measure the retention rates of diverse hires that’ve been sourced through third-party recruiters compared to other channels. This metric helps determine if the candidates presented by recruiters are a good fit for your organisation.
  • Compliance with inclusive hiring practices – also, be sure to assess whether recruiters are adhering to your own inclusive hiring practices and policies. This can include everything from evaluating their commitment to avoiding biases and following equal opportunity regulations to utilising inclusive language in job adverts.
  • Check their own commitment to DE&I – finally, see if the supplier has signed up to a code of professional practice which supports diversity. The REC’s code of professional practice includes a principle on diverse recruitment to which all REC members must adhere, as part of their membership – so it’s a good measure of their commitment.

This might sound like a lot of work, but it’s just the start of what you can do to hold your suppliers to account for DE&I. And according to Capita, the importance of measurement when it comes to fair and inclusive recruitment just can’t be overstated.

“…without accurate and relevant metrics which indicate where the leakage of diverse talent is occurring in your recruitment process, it is very difficult to pinpoint the issues and implement changes,” the organisation says in ‘Diversity and Inclusion Best Practice in Recruitment’.

Above all else, this level of assessment is a great way to ensure you’re working with the right people. In particular, organisations that share your own ethos around DE&I.

Collaborate with like-minded suppliers

The digital sector is, or at least should be, progressive by design. And that means it can lead the charge in terms of fair and inclusive recruitment. The good thing is, many organisations are already collaborating with like-minded suppliers to do just that. 

For example, Sky is working with its recruiters to produce 50/50 candidate shortlists for senior positions; this is levelling the playing field when it comes to the gender disparity in these roles. For context, just 25% of senior leadership roles are currently held by women in Technology, Information and Media.

They haven’t stopped there, either. Sky has now published its own Diversity and Inclusion Manifesto which comprehensively outlines the brand’s diversity targets and reporting process. It also outlines a number of helpful resources Sky and other production companies can use to source diverse and expert talent. 

“Production companies will be given subscriptions to major diverse talent databases, as well as resource lists detailing the most up-to-date schemes,” says Zai Bennett, Sky’s Managing Director of Content.

Speaking of diverse databases, Digital Grads has a talent pool of almost 5,000 candidates – all screened using a fair and standardised process. Importantly, this includes skills-based work assessments to ensure fair and impartial shortlisting. Our diverse graduate talent pool includes:

  • 35% of female candidates
  • 57% BAME candidates 
  • Candidates proficient in 62 languages

Essentially, DE&I isn’t an afterthought here; it’s just part of the process. 

Find a recruiter that understands your commitment to DE&I and you can start promoting this vital part of your employee value proposition to more candidates. At the end of the day, we know it matters to talent. So make sure it’s at the top of the agenda for your suppliers too.

Want to get serious about diversity and inclusion in your team? Then head to our grad recruitment app and check out today’s burgeoning talent.