Welcome In – Inclusive Recruitment at Auto Trader UK by Helen Robinson

From the process of advertising and candidate attraction to selection and then onboarding, Auto Trader aims to welcome a diverse range of people that represent the local communities in which we operate as well as the customers we serve. 

This begins with our job adverts and our recruitment communication. One of the tools we have used is Textio to remove gendered language from our creative copy. The best way to verify that our language is inclusive is to then further consult with various colleagues and our Diversity & Inclusion networks.

To make sure our recruitment process is more inclusive, we also consider where to place our job adverts. We try to advertise in many places which have a diverse audience, including the Inclusive Companies’ jobsite called ‘Inclusive Jobs’ and Stonewall’s jobsite, both of which have a diversity focus, but also Indeed, Glassdoor and LinkedIn which are huge platforms with a wide and representative audience. 

When using Social Media, we empower our employees to share their personal stories of what it is really like working for Auto Trader. We ask our colleagues to talk about their own employee experience in a genuine and not overly polished way. An example of this for the past two years has been our Black History Month celebrations; a number of our colleagues from our BAME network did a social media takeover to showcase a number of things that were special to them including the meaning behind their name, and then short videos about who they are as a person, not only at work but also outside. By shining the spotlight on our amazing staff and giving them the opportunity to talk openly about their experiences, we find that the outcome is much more authentic and speaks to candidates in a relatable way. 

Highlighting our commitment to D&I through our memberships with Stonewall, BITC Race at Work, and Disability Confident, demonstrates our determination to create an inclusive business. Every August, for the past four years, 100 of our colleagues have flooded the streets of Manchester, as part of Manchester Pride, marching for equality and inclusion in front of an audience of thousands. On a number of occasions, candidates have referenced all the above when applying, not only as a reason for wanting to join us, but also as a factor of giving them the confidence to be their true selves during the application and interview process. This is something we are particularly proud of. 

Our interview process is designed with care to ensure that the candidate will perform the best they possibly can and to make sure that the people making the decisions are fair and free from any biases. All hiring managers take part in two workshops, these are ‘Brilliant Recruitment’ and ‘One Auto Trader’. Both workshops are designed to help individuals explore their biases, challenge themselves and practice ways of outsmarting them so they don’t influence their hiring decisions. They also learn about ways to create a candidate experience centred around the individual and enabling each candidate to perform their best, including making any adjustments required. Being Disability Leaders as part of the Disability Confident scheme has also resulted in candidates being more likely to share their requirements during the application or interview stage and our dedicated Resourcing Partners are experienced in making sure that our processes are adjusted accordingly. 

For shortlisting candidates, hiring managers need to complete a review of all applications against pre-agreed criteria with our dedicated resourcing partners. We have at least two people completing the review to avoid personal biases, and the criteria are carefully selected so they don’t become barriers to inclusion. For example, we never use ‘years of experience’ or ‘degree classification’ as criteria for any of our jobs.


Our onboarding process gives all new joiners a ‘Great Start’ from the moment the employee accepts the offer all the way to the first three months of their new role. Within this time, they will have the opportunity to meet all of our Diversity and Inclusion networks, they will take part in the ‘One Auto Trader’ workshop as well as receiving an overview of all of our people policies and benefits on our dedicated intranet page. They will take part in a three-day company induction where they immerse themselves into our company values, one of them being ‘community minded’ and each individual will have an onboarding buddy from their team and their people leader, who both make sure they offer a unique experience based on their needs.

Ongoing support

We provide an Employee Assistance Programme, which offers support to all our colleagues throughout the year to discuss anything from emotional well-being to legal advice. We also have a team of Mental Health First Aiders (MHFA) spread across our offices in Manchester, London and Dublin as well as availability to provide phone support for our colleagues based in the field. A MHFA is like a physical health first aider, trained to assist people who may be experiencing a mental health crisis, while at work, as well working on proactive projects to support our people to look after their mental health themselves. MHFAs can be a valuable resource in providing early intervention help for someone who may be developing a mental health issue by signposting them to speak to their GP and specialists. 

At Auto Trader, we have a number of Sports and Social Clubs for all of our colleagues to join throughout the year including a football club, netball club, book club, film club and board games. By joining a club our colleagues will form great relationships across the business with people they don’t necessarily work with on a daily basis. As part of our inclusion strategy, one of our key principles is to respect our differences but focus on finding common ground, and our Sports & Social clubs are a great way for us to deliver that company-wide.

We have a Diversity & Inclusion Guild who are responsible for designing and delivering our strategic commitments together with our four D&I networks; these are BAME, LGBT+, Women’s and Disability & Neurodiversity. These networks create opportunities for people to be part of something they feel particularly passionate about as well as delivering initiatives that help us to recruit and retain diverse individuals. They meet on a monthly basis and provide a safe space for everybody to discuss sensitive topics and generate ideas to keep improving our work environment. 

Our advice to other businesses that are focusing on D&I is to make sure that they are in it for the long-term. Although there are some quick wins you need to remain focussed and considerate to the different needs of your diverse people. The more you grow your strategy the more complex it may potentially become to keep listening to your people and never stop learning from other businesses and the relevant communities.


Case Study by Helen Robinson, Diversity & Inclusion and Community Engagement Manager, Auto Trader UK


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