Inspiring Super-Network Advice Session – Recruitment and Promotion with Auto Trader UK and Toyota GB

Last week, we had the pleasure of hosting our third Inspiring Super-Network advice session, along with Christos Tsaprounis, People and Culture Leader at Auto Trader UK, who shared more about Auto Trader’s approach to recruitment and promotion, and sponsor of the Inspiring Super-Network, Rachel Shepherd spoke on behalf of Toyota (GB) plc and shared their policy. 

Today, we have highlighted some of the key points from the session for you.

1. Inclusive recruitment only works if you have created an inclusive culture. You must invest in this, and think long term. Recruiting managers need to be (re)trained with contemporary recruitment and selection methods. Inclusive leadership styles need to be adopted, and all colleagues should attend inclusion and diversity training. Also when aiming to attract and hire more women, you must ensure your processes are not excluding women of colour, of different sexual orentiations, neurodiverse women and those with disabiilties, or particular ages. You must track and scrutinise the data at every stage of the recruitment selection and onboarding process to ensure there aren’t stages that seem to favour one population over another. If tracking applications by gender you can take action swiftly if few females apply, and just tweaking some of the words in the advert can lead to more women applying and so a better gender balance in the candidate pool.

2. Marketing your company as an employer of choice involves long term as well as vacancy driven activity. You need to raise awareness of your employer brand within your target recruitment pools so that when opportunities are advertised more women will be familiar with your brand. Building your employer brand can be done through engaging regularly with universities/ sixth form colleges/ schools, and also in the wider local community through partnering with charities, and in professional networks through hosting events with topics that would attract female and diverse audiences. Your marketing team should work closely with your people resourcing team to ensure your brand values are effectively communicated. Take every opportunity to talk about the roles you hire for, including in your customer facing areas.

3. Showcase the women already in your business, and tell their career stories. Real employees talking about what it is like to work in your company, what kind of training, development and support they receive, and how they are comfortable to be their true selves etc. Authenticity is much better than glossy productions. The women could be shown in short films on your website or social media, or through written articles accompanied with photos, in your newsletters and in customer facing areas. Ensure women are prominent amongst those visiting educational establishments.

4. Review all your recruitment criteria, job descriptions, job titles, job design, with a fresh pair of eyes. In fact use lots of pairs of eyes to ensure everyone feels the wording and message is inclusive. Describe the role in terms or what they will have ownership of and where they could take the role, the positive impact it will have on the wider team or customers, rather than a detailed description of the task. Be careful with job titles – do they actually mean anything to those outside the sector? Ensure you have only limited but essential criteria (6 to 8 points), and ensure the words are put through a gender decoder to avoid masculine language. Actively promote access to flexible and hybrid working from the first communication. Be transparent about pay – people who have no connection to the industry will have no idea what the typical salary levels are. Place adverts on LinkedIn and Indeed, on your website, as well as graduate employment / placement websites, in colleges and in your workplace. Get in touch with your alumna who may have left when you had a less inclusive approach. Ensure your maternity / paternity/ parental leave and flexible working policies are clearly stated on your website.

5. During the selection process, use application forms with set questions rather than CVs, and use multiple people to do the screening independently. Then come together to get a consensed view of the candidates. This counteracts each person’s innate bias. Always screen against the strict criteria with indicators of the type of evidence that objectively show if the candidate meets the criteria or not. Never have Yes / No piles where individuals screen only on “instinct”. Always make the selection process very transparent through a full brief in advance, so the candidate knows what to expect. Also, always ask the candidate if she needs any adjustments for the selection process to ensure whe will perform at her optimum potential. If this is asked at each stage by a person, then the candidate is more likely to be open about any needs. Make it clear applicants don’t need to have a passion for the product. A candidate should always be interviewed by multiple people (not necessarily at the same time) so again any personal biases are countered. Ensure all candidates can access the location and be aware that certain appointment times could be a barrier. Scrutinise the data at all stages of the process to ensure that male and female applicants are progressing proportionately – if not there is potentially bias in that stage. Review the gender and diversity split of applicants during the advertising phase and if there are few diverse women applying try tweaking the wording or adding extra locations to where you are promoting it.

6. Onboarding starts the moment the candidate accepts the job offer. Ensure that you pay the woman what she is worth and it is aligned to her peers in the company rather than a percentage increase above her current salary, or you risk importing a gender pay gap problem. Stay in touch during her notice period and find out more about her. A welcome pack that is personalised for her is a nice touch. Ask her to introduce herself to colleagues by writing an article about herself and her interests for sharing in internal communications. Ensure she has an effective induction, and this is the ideal time to give the diversity and inclusion training and explain behavioural expectations and standards. Be aware that all those who engaged with you and were unsuccessful also need to retain a positive view of your employer brand so ensure they are notified in a professional manner and (where applicable) encourage them to apply again for other roles in the future.

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