Striking the Right Balance for Inclusive and Fair Talent Selection

The delicate interplay between recruitment targets, equity, and equality is pivotal in shaping fair and effective hiring practices. Recruitment targets are often set to increase diversity within organisations, while equity and equality are principles that guide the fair treatment of all candidates. Striking a delicate balance between these concepts is essential to ensure that the playing field is not only level but also accessible to all.


The Role of Recruitment Targets

Recruitment targets, when set and pursued with intention, can be a powerful mechanism for driving diversity and fostering an inclusive culture within an organisation.

These targets often arise from a recognition of the underrepresentation of certain groups within the workforce and a commitment to correct this imbalance. However, the implementation of these targets can be a complex undertaking. The risk lies in the possibility of reducing diversity to a numbers game, where the focus is on meeting quotas rather than on the underlying goal of creating an equitable workplace.

Additionally, recruitment targets, without integration into a broader strategy of inclusion, can lead to a superficial diversity that doesn’t necessarily translate into equitable career progression or a sense of belonging among new hires. As noted by the Australian Human Rights Commission,


diversity targets must be accompanied by inclusive practices that support the retention and development of diverse talent, ensuring that all employees can thrive.


Equity vs. Equality

The concepts of equity and equality are fundamental to the discussion of fair recruitment practices. Equality implies treating every candidate the same, an approach that seems fair at face value but often fails to consider the varying challenges and barriers different people face. Equity, on the other hand, is about fairness and justice; it’s about giving everyone what they need to have the same opportunity for success.

An equitable recruitment process acknowledges that candidates come from diverse backgrounds and may require different types of support to demonstrate their abilities and potential fully.

For instance, candidates with disabilities may need reasonable adjustments to the recruitment process to compete on an even playing field. The Australasian Faculty of Occupational and Environmental Medicine points out that workplace adjustments not only support the participation of people with disabilities but can improve productivity and job satisfaction for all employees.


Implementing Equitable Recruitment Practices

Implementing equitable recruitment practices is a strategic imperative that demands thoughtful planning and consistent effort. Organisations can begin by examining their recruitment processes through the lens of equity—ensuring that job advertisements, application processes, and interview practices are accessible and inclusive. This might involve offering alternative application formats, providing interview questions in advance, or ensuring physical accessibility for in-person interviews.

Furthermore, organisations can adopt measures such as blind recruitment, where certain identifying details are removed from applications to prevent unconscious bias. Training for hiring managers and recruitment teams is also crucial, not just as a one-time intervention but as an ongoing commitment to understanding and mitigating biases.

Recruitment targets, when used thoughtfully, alongside a commitment to equity and equality, can help build a workforce that truly reflects the diversity of society. Organisations need to evaluate their recruitment strategies regularly to ensure they promote both diversity and fairness, ultimately leading to a more dynamic and inclusive workplace.




Practical steps

for ‘Staying Above the Line” and Maintaining Balance


Strategically Employ Masked Processes

Share potential information indicators based on proximity to decision-making and the influence on talent pool diversity.



Eliminate Deterring Language

Remove language from job ads that may deter diverse candidates, ensuring that the language used is inclusive.


Global Standards with Regional Flexibility

Create global standards that allow for regional flexibility to accommodate diverse talent pools and local cultural nuances.




Enhance Bias Awareness in Decision-Making


Build inclusive capability around bias in key decision-making moments to enhance fairness and equity. See our Conscious Decision-Making Programs here: Conscious Decision Making


Revise Interview Processes for Inclusivity

Restructure the interview process to be more inclusive, considering the needs of diverse applicants.



Flexible Working Arrangements (“Flexible Flex”)


Consider and implement flexible working arrangements to cater to a diverse range of employee needs and lifestyles. Check out our Digital Learning Bites exploring Flexibility here: Digital and Scalable Learning