Inclusive Recruitment in the Charity Sector

In late 2021 we applied for the TPP inclusive recruitment grant. At The Jo Cox Foundation, we want to talk openly about how we’re on a journey to becoming a more inclusive organisation - we’re doing some things right, but we know we have more progress that we can make.

We felt hugely privileged to be chosen as the winners of the grant, and were clear from the start that we wanted to share what we learnt from this opportunity as part of our commitment to increasing diversity in the charity sector.

Working with Leighton, Donna and the team at TPP, we’ve found a fantastic candidate for our Public Affairs Manager role who started with us last month. Some of the top things we learnt that we want to share with the wider sector are:

1. Ditch the tired tropes and switch up your language

When it comes to writing a job description, it’s really easy to recycle or update one you’ve used before. But take time to ensure that everything you include is intentional. Is what you’re listing really essential, or could it be taught? Do you value experience, or desire to learn? 

And avoid using those cut-and-paste phrases like ‘excellent communication skills’ which can be off-putting for many people, including those who are neurodiverse. Reflect on what you actually mean - do you want someone who writes creatively? Or someone who’s compelling at explaining an idea or concept? Be clear about what you’re looking for. 

2. Consider the interview experience for the candidate

Last year we started sending interview questions to candidates in advance and would highly recommend that other charities adopt this as part of their recruitment. We’ve found that it makes candidates more relaxed, and able to bring more of their true selves to the interview process.

3. Examine your interview processes

Working with TPP, we’ve also made some other changes to our processes. We’ve implemented a more robust numerical scoring system, ensuring that all interviewers are judging candidates by the same criteria and removing opportunities for bias. Something that I’ve particularly taken on board is their advice to not discuss candidates between interviews. It’s so easy to express a preference when you see a great candidate, but think: might that make it less fair for the person who you see next? 

Thank you again to TPP. We hope other organisations are able to benefit from some of the things we’ve learnt. If your organisation is also working to make your recruitment process more inclusive and would like to share learnings, do get in touch.

- Su Moore, CEO of The Jo Cox Foundation