Accessibility tools

What does digital inclusion mean for the recruitment industry?

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Lillie Ubeid
by Lillie Ubeid

​Welcome to the first episode of our "Ask the Expert" series, where we've connected with friends and partners across various specialisms to find answers to the questions our customers are asking!

We're thrilled to be kicking off this series with Keith Moutter of Recite Me.

Recite Me's core message is that Accessibility + Usability = Inclusion. Their technology and supporting services bridge the gap between accessibility and usability, creating more inclusive online experiences. Volcanic proudly partner with Recite Me to support the recruitment and staffing industry in delivering inclusive website experiences for their candidates.

The first question we have asked Keith is: What does digital inclusion mean for the recruitment industry?

Check it out in our video below! We have subtitles available or scroll past the video and you can read the full transcript.

Full Transcript:

"This question is such a multi-layered question really, so there are a number of areas to consider within recruitment.

In this day and age, you'd be tempted to say it is critical to support modern recruitment practices and increased awareness of diversity within UK and the global population.

Awareness has increased. We understand a little bit more about hidden disabilities, neurodiversity, and the importance of diversity and inclusion has increased over the last decade, certainly over the last few years with the pandemic and everything that's been happening in society.

If we break down to the various parties involved with regards to digital inclusion, what makes the recruitment world spin? Let's just touch on a few of the key stats first to set a bit of a scene for the candidate experience. Using RIDI as a source for this information, 75% of candidates found their neurological or visual condition had an impact on their job search. It's a huge number of people who will be struggling with a recruitment process because of digital inclusion. 54% encountered hurdles at multiple stages of the recruitment process, which again is over half of the number of people who were asked that question. And 28% found online assessments challenging. Online assessments are such a strong part of recruitment these days, with apps and companies specialising in online assessments. So that environment is such a strong part of the candidate experience and what people have to go through to achieve those kind of career aspirations and those roles that they're looking for.

The reality of the modern recruitment landscape is that well over 70%, and I'm probably being conservative there, is an online application based platform, including things like job search sites like TotalJobs, Reed, Indeed, corporate careers websites (they may click from your site as a recruiter into a corporate careers website - that needs to be inclusive too).

Initial application process, so when they click ‘Apply Now’, the whole ATS experience that they go through. Video interviewing, which can sometimes be set within a website, online testing, learning management systems when they become an employee, and Intranets as well. So there's so many different landscapes that can cause certain barriers and challenges to candidates from an inclusion perspective and all of which need their own evaluation and work and development to make it as inclusive as possible.

The basics of being able to research career opportunities as well. So these opportunities are seriously impacted by the level of online inclusion, considering all the platforms of previously mentioned above. Let's not forget the personal and social impact of providing low levels of digital inclusion to candidates as well. So not providing this support can have a profound impact on issues such as supporting diversity, empowering diversity, candidate confidence. How confident is a candidate going to be when they get to an interview stage if they've really struggled and had to put all their effort into the whole candidate experience before that? Are they confident that role is even for them to begin with because they’ve struggled to read the job description? They've gone through a really challenging online experience and they've got to the point of an interview, which is great and that can add confidence but, the levels knocked before that can often have that profound impact on someone and they may wonder whether they're going to perform against someone who is more able from an inclusion perspective and from a neuro-diverse or hidden disability perspective.

Candidate trust and loyalty, so building that strong and successful relationships with candidates in a very competitive sector. It's easy enough for any candidate to go to another recruiter and apply for the same job potentially. So it's about building that strong trust and relationship with candidates and providing that high level of inclusion, can really go above and beyond in terms of their perception of you as a recruiter as well, which is amazing.

And just in general recruiter brand perception held by candidates, you know, will they come to you because they know you're a specialist in diversity? They come to you because you understand their needs, their challenges, your empathy is quite high to their needs. And you focus on those opportunities that will, again, work with employers that actually offer the diversity and inclusion that they're looking for as well. What are your contacts like in terms of the clients that you're working with? All of these elements kind of really come into play when it comes to digital inclusion, in terms of the candidate experience.

In terms of your own benefits as a recruiter, you could say that the online inclusion is a huge, if not pivotal part of your brand and offering in general, as I've just mentioned. On the basis of majority of application processes are online, it's hard to argue this. From your front-facing website, to your application process, to any assessments that might be online. It's a big part of what you do. It needs to be right. It needs to be delivering on all cylinders to everybody. And it's not just about making recruitment processes accessible to those who are disabled or who have a neurodiverse condition. It's about making recruitment processes accessible to everybody. And let's not generalise it. Let's just make them accessible to everybody. And if we follow that rule of thumb, we can't go wrong and we're not missing anybody out. We're thinking about the bigger picture.

So richer candidate pools obviously is huge, filled with diversity of people, skills, personality. We all know that a rich and diverse candidate database can only ever be a successful database. I speak to a lot of companies and I see them regularly post research that indicates that teams that are packed neurodiversity are teams packed with creativity and productivity, which is only ever a good thing. Online inclusion is a crucial key to unlock this, of course. If a candidate can't navigate or process your online content, the may not progress even to the application stage, let alone the interview and the opportunity to take that role in the first place. So it's a big part in terms of building that diversity in the talent pool that you're attracting.

Partnerships to new clients can be a big impact and eventuality of making your digital process more inclusive, certainly new and old, not just new business, but your existing clients, showing them that you're changing the way you do things and be more innovative can just revive that relationship. Providing a real focus on digital inclusion will certainly resonate with employers. Whether you are pitching for new business or again revising your service level agreements with existing clients, it can all make that really kind of key impact. Outlining a detailed approach to online inclusion and how passionate you are about this topic and how passionate you are as a brand to welcome all candidates, breaking down inclusion barriers as part of your candidate attraction experience, that can have a real profound impact on your ability to win that business as well. Clients will, certainly from my experience, I'm talking generalist, but certainly speaking to a lot of large organisations, heads of talent, D&I leads who also have a big part in recruitment from a client perspective or client side perspective, D&I is a big part of what they're delivering as an employer brand. So recruiters have to accommodate to that and really have to work along the same lines of that as well.

So, it really is about outlining that detailed approach that you're taking to make sure that you're matching their aspirations. And in such a competitive, and I’ve touched on this before, in such a competitive and saturated market, the addition of innovative approaches to attraction of candidate diversity can be a genuine difference to the outcome of that pitch and allow you to win potentially business that you've maybe never won before, or clients that you've aspired to work with but actually have never managed to. And changes in digital inclusion and the opportunity to attract more diverse candidates might just be the difference because that potential client might have that focus on at that time, or is an ongoing focus, and it's just something you've never touched on before. So it can unlock often new doors with regards to conversations.

And again, just to reemphasize, obviously I speak to so many employees, and it's a regular comment that they are making diversity and inclusion a genuine benchmark for any new recruitment suppliers. So when they're looking to attract new suppliers and attracting new talent through recruitment agencies, it's a concrete part of their partnership that it needs to be in place that they're doing over and above actions and processes to try and make their, you know, attraction of candidates much more diverse and inclusive. And again, it can be a real pivotal moment in terms of that, you know, that approach to a client and winning that business, which can be fantastic.

And in general, brand perception can be profoundly supported by a well thought out and positive approach to online inclusion perception of both clients and candidates. Building a strong brand within a market where it's increasingly difficult to offer key differences between you and your competitors. Inclusion is a huge way to do this and can often be very straightforward. There's no complicated physics around this. There's some basic things that you can do that can just really emphasise inclusion. And diversity is a big part of what you do as a company and in terms of your clients and benefits of the employees that you're working with. Obviously for them, they're building a network of recruiters that understand and work in tandem with their own D&I strategy and target. So in terms of digital inclusion, in the context of recruitment for a client, they want to build that network of recruiters where they can understand and trust that they've got the best intentions at heart. And D&I is a big part of those intentions right now.

The benefit of receiving candidate information that is reflective of an inclusive, candidate experience. So knowing that the candidates are coming through a process with you that is inclusive, that does offer a user experience or a candidate experience that is inclusive and allows the gates to open for more diverse candidates, can be a huge thing for them and very reassuring.

Increased trust and confidence in recruitment agencies, services and the willingness to invest in these services to sort of stop clients from trying to do it in-house, to invest more money into the recruitment sector and giving you more opportunities to bid for new business. Obviously that digital inclusion piece and more inclusion within the recruitment sector can make a massive difference to that trust and investment that they have.

And building more diverse talent pools naturally across all areas of the business, you know, the more inclusive the recruitment process is and the certainly the online recruitment processes is, the more open the gates are to a diverse range of candidates, and allowing them to build a fantastic, diverse, rich, cultured candidate experience for their business and for them to move forward as a business as well."

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