Preventing Discrimination in Recruitment & Selection: Strategies for Fair and Unbiased Hiring

Anete Vesere (1)

Anete Vesere

Content Marketer

Preventing Discrimination in Recruitment and Selection: Strategies for Fair and Unbiased Hiring

“My feeling about this law is twofold.”

Unfortunately, we still live in a world where this kind of legislation is necessary to stop companies from looking away and start letting them take responsibility. 

With this law, we can at least finally give those an equal opportunity who never had this before. I’m happy that Equalture is an enabler in doing so. But as I said, in an ideal world we shouldn’t have to rely upon laws like these or tools like ours. 

Charlotte Melkert, Co-Founder and CEO at Equalture

portrait picture of Charlotte Melkert

In today’s increasingly diverse and inclusive work environment, preventing discrimination during recruitment and selection is crucial. As progressive as the Netherlands might come across at first glance when it comes to this, according to research, there is still an upward trend when it comes to increasing discrimination in the job market specifically in the Netherlands…

That’s why on March 14 2023 the Dutch government accepted a new law: ”Equal Opportunities in Recruitment and Selection Oversight Act” (Wet toezicht gelijke kansen bij werving en selective). 

What does it mean for employers?

This legislative proposal requires companies and job placement agencies (referred to as “intermediaries”) to have a clear process in place during recruitment and selection to prevent discrimination in the job market. 

Here’s what it means for you as an employer:

  1. This process should outline how vacancies are filled and show that the company or intermediary is aware of the risks of discrimination and has measures in place to prevent it.
  2. Employees involved in the recruitment process should be informed of these risks and the company’s measures to prevent discrimination. 
  3. The recruitment process should be based on relevant job requirements, be transparent and verifiable, and be designed systematically. 
  4.  Intermediaries and employers with more than 25 employees must document the working method and associated measures, which can be made available to everyone, such as by publishing it on the website.
  5. Smaller employers with 25 employees or less may not be required to document the working method in writing.

The Dutch Labour Inspectorate (Nederlandse Arbeidsinspectie) is responsible for supervising and enforcing this legislation. If you are found to be deficient in these measures, the Inspectorate may issue fines, which will be publicly disclosed. The primary objective is to increase employers’ awareness of discrimination in the labour market.

On one hand, it’s sad that we need a law like this, but on the other hand, it will finally force at least all companies in Netherlands to no longer look away! This blog will discuss ways in which companies can prevent discrimination and promote diversity and inclusion in the hiring process.

P.S. The ‘Equal Opportunities in Recruitment and Selection Oversight Act” (Wet toezicht gelijke kansen bij werving en selective) applies to ALL companies in the Netherlands, including foreign employers, intermediaries, and service providers. They must follow the rules outlined in the proposal when recruiting, selecting, or providing job placement services in the country. 

Understanding discrimination in recruitment and selection

Discrimination in recruitment and selection occurs when an employer makes hiring decisions based on a person’s age, race, gender, religion, sexual orientation, or other characteristics that are not related to their ability to perform the job. 

It can take many forms, including unconscious bias, stereotyping, and prejudice. On top of that, it can occur at any stage of the recruitment and selection process, from the job posting to the final decision. Here are just a few examples of the ways discrimination takes place during the hiring process:

How to prevent discrimination in recruitment and selection

  1. Develop and implement an anti-discrimination policy. Create a policy that outlines the company’s commitment to preventing discrimination and the consequences for non-compliance. Communicate the policy to all employees and stakeholders.
  2. Train hiring managers and recruiters on unconscious bias and anti-discrimination practices. Provide training on how to identify and avoid unconscious bias, and how to apply objective criteria for screening and selection.
  3. Use objective and job-related criteria for screening and selection. Develop and use clear and consistent criteria during interviews for assessing candidates’ qualifications, skills, and experience. Use job-related criteria, such as work samples or performance tests, rather than subjective assessments.
  4. Accommodate  for candidates with disabilities. Ensure that the recruitment and selection process is accessible to candidates with disabilities. Provide reasonable accommodations, such as sign language interpreters, accessible application processes, or flexible interview schedules.
  5. Monitor and evaluate the recruitment and selection process. Regularly review and evaluate the recruitment and selection process to identify any potential discriminatory practices. Analyze data on the demographics of the applicant pool and the hiring decisions to ensure that the process is fair and unbiased. Conducting regular reviews, such as quarterly or annual assessments, can help you stay proactive in addressing any biases, making necessary adjustments, and promoting diversity and inclusion in the recruitment process overall.

Preventing discrimination in recruitment and selection is not only the right thing to do, it is also good for business. A diverse and inclusive workforce can bring different perspectives and ideas, leading to innovation and improved performance. Moreover, taking proactive steps to prevent discrimination during hiring will aid in building a strong and successful workforce.

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