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How to Provide an LGBTQIA+ Inclusive Candidate Experience

The candidate experience is the first real interaction a prospective employee will have with your organization. Just as you expect them to put their best foot forward as talent, candidates expect you to impress them as a potential employer. And when it comes to LGBTQIA+ candidates, creating a good experience means letting them know they’ll be welcome at your organization.

Creating this kind of inclusive environment is especially important when you’re trying to attract members of LGBTQIA+ communities because they often don’t feel comfortable enough to be themselves at work. In fact, research from Glassdoor found that 53 percent of LGBTQIA+ workers have experienced or witnessed prejudice against their communities in the workplace, which has caused 43 percent to hide their identity while on the job. As a result, 70 percent of this talent will not even consider applying for a job at a company that doesn’t support LGBTQIA+ communities.

To ensure that your company doesn’t end up on prospective employees’ radar as an organization to avoid, you want to create a candidate experience that is LGBTQIA+ inclusive. The following tips can help.

5 Ways to Create an Inclusive LGBTQIA+ Candidate Experience

1. Seek Out LGBTQIA+ Candidates 

If you don't have fair representation of talent from LGBTQIA+ communities, the first step to making your hiring process more inclusive is to seek out candidates to help create more representation within your organization. When searching for early career talent, you can partner with organizations—such as Out in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (OSTEM) and Campus Pride—that cater to college students in LGBTQIA+ communities to become top of mind among seniors looking for work after graduation. Also, you can build relationships with professional associations that have LGBTQIA+ members, like Out to Innovate and Pride At Work.

2. Use Gender Neutral Language Throughout the Hiring Process

One way to demonstrate openness to all applicants is the use of inclusive language in job postings, recruiting websites, and employment applications. To make the hiring process more inclusive for LGBTQIA+ candidates, all of your communications should include gender neutral language, which will immediately tell applicants you're accepting of all genders and don't make assumptions about people's pronouns. For example, you can leave gendered language out of job descriptions entirely, or if “he” or “she” appears anywhere in your recruiting communications, replace it with “they.”

3. Make Your Support of LGBTQIA+ Employees Known

Do you offer gender affirming health care coverage? Do you have an employee resource group dedicated to the needs of LGBTQIA+ workers? Have you actively supported LGBTQIA+ organizations to contribute to the betterment of these communities? Whatever your company does to support LGBTQIA+ communities, make these activities known so applicants are crystal clear about where you stand. If you don't already have a recruiting website specifically tailored for candidates from LGBTQIA+ communities, launch one and use it to showcase your efforts in supporting this talent. Also, social media activity, and even job postings, can become a demonstration of your support for LGBTQIA+ workers.

4. Find Out the Candidate Point of View

The best way to find out about the effectiveness of your candidate experience is to ask candidates themselves. Conduct anonymous surveys to specifically ask what the recruitment experience was like for them and how it can be improved. Give them the opportunity to be frank about whether they experienced poor treatment because they’re LGBTQIA+ or if they found the candidate experience to be inclusive.

Similarly, you can get anonymous feedback from current employees about what their own recruitment experience was like, as well as advice on ways to improve the process for members of LGBTQIA+ communities. Also, you can get valuable insights on issues that may have arisen during the hiring process and beyond by conducting employee exit interviews.

5. Showcase LGBTQIA+ Employee Experiences 

Your current LGBTQIA+ employees can do a lot to boost your employer brand among potential candidates. In your recruitment communications, be sure to include their stories so LGBTQIA+ individuals know their communities are represented in your workforce. Give your employees a voice so candidates know what to expect if they’re hired.

Creating an LGBTQIA+ inclusive candidate experience takes work, but it’s well worth the effort. These tips can help make candidates feel welcome throughout the hiring process and let them know that they will be embraced if they choose to work at your organization.

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