6 ways to create an LGBTQ+ inclusive recruitment process

Last updated:
June 13, 2023
June 13, 2023
min read
Stephanie DePrez
LGBTQ+ inclusive recruitment process
Table of contents

Multinational companies seeking the best talent must prioritize diversity or risk losing significant ground in the global economy. The International Labour Organization recently released a report detailing the necessity of diversity to boost productivity and resilience.

LGBTQ+ employees face unique struggles when looking for a new job, and inclusive recruitment processes that intentionally support the experience of queer candidates can result in a more authentic talent pool and reveal qualified candidates from traditionally marginalized communities that might otherwise become discouraged or non-responsive during the recruitment process.

A recent Household Pulse Survey in the US launched in 2021 revealed that LGBTQ+ individuals are more likely to live below the poverty line, and yet work more hours per week than their non-LGBTQ+ counterparts. A 2021 survey from UCLA’s Williams Institute revealed that nearly half of LGBTQ+ employees have experienced a form of discrimination at work.

When qualified employees struggle to participate fully in their work environment, everyone loses. Intentional inclusion of LGBTQ+ employees benefits the individual and the company as a whole and makes a company more profitable overall.

What are the benefits of having a diverse and inclusive workplace?

Different voices bring multiple solutions

When it comes to solving a problem, diversity is an unbeatable asset. Diversity fosters innovative solutions through a variety of viewpoints. When a team is made up of members who have had different life experiences, there is a rich gathering of informed perspectives that can tackle a problem from multiple angles. 

Pushback is a good thing

Because diversity brings together different viewpoints, there is more opportunity to challenge standard procedures and ways of thinking and offer pushback against established norms. This encourages new ways of approaching problems. When diverse voices are valued, the challenges they present can result in novel proposals and solutions.

Cooperation becomes a lived value

Every organization wants to stress their internal cooperation and shared values, but a diverse company is forced to establish a baseline of cooperation in a more authentic way.

Different nationalities, native languages, ages, sexualities, economic and educational backgrounds, and family systems can cause initial friction between colleagues. However, if navigated properly, diversity necessitates honest cooperation on a level that a homogenous company may never achieve. 

Why prioritize inclusive hiring? 

First impressions establish values

An organization’s hiring process sets the tone for operations. Candidates begin making value calls about a company the moment they’re contacted by a recruiter or member of the hiring team. The language and accessibility used by the ambassadors of a company establish that essential first impression.

If the process is LGBTQ+ inclusive, signaling a curiosity and openness to a variety of lived experiences, that process will attract similar candidates: curious and open recruits who are made to feel comfortable.

Diversity becomes a focus, not an afterthought

Diversity does not truly grow if an organization’s focus on it is primarily inward. Making a company LGBTQ+ friendly requires examining processes through the full recruitment cycle – a step beyond assuring the comfort of current LGBTQ+ employees.

Promoting diversity and an inclusive recruitment process from the moment a candidate encounters a recruiter or reads a job description means that the candidate can immediately resonate (or not resonate) with your commitment to encouraging wide perspectives. 

Every HR team will tell you that a company’s greatest asset is its people. Embracing stated diversity at the outset of the hiring process means that candidates who might not fit the mold apply and reveal themselves to be assets in later steps.

When your organization is actively promoting diversity, especially for LGBTQ+ candidates, you will receive a wider pool of candidates and a greater opportunity to identify value.

6 steps for LGBTQ+ inclusive recruitment

1. Optimize your job postings to be gender neutral

Language is a tricky thing, and for most candidates, the language an organization uses in a job posting is the first indication that they are (or are not) welcome. The most obvious tip is to avoid gendered terminology. Instead of “he/she,” it’s much simpler to say “they” or “the candidate.”

Many companies now use “you” to speak directly to the candidate without providing an opportunity to unintentionally create distance. Gender-neutral language can also be used to avoid racial bias, affinity bias, and exclusionary language.

2. Prevent unconscious bias with collaborative hiring

When recruitment relies on one person, the natural biases of that person will inevitably seep into the hiring process. No one is able to fully turn off unconscious bias – and that’s okay, because it’s a part of being a human with lived experience. But that slight tendency to bias towards what our own experiences consider positive is what makes diversity essential.

When the hiring process is opened up, and a candidate’s application has multiple points of contact, there is a better chance that one person’s unconscious bias won’t dismiss the candidate too early, or promote a candidate arbitrarily. 

This is particularly important when it comes to LGBTQ+ candidates. No matter how many strides have been made to fully integrate queerness into modern workspaces, acceptance remains tentative in certain places for a variety of reasons, and LGBTQ+ candidates have reasons to be wary every time they apply for a job.

An overt acceptance of LGBTQ+ persons from the outset can go a long way to securing the best candidate for a job. Organizations should not leave applicants wondering if an LGBTQ+ candidate would be accepted. It remains a valid question, and explicit endorsement is the best practice.

Want to learn more about collaborative hiring and how you can implement it in your company?

Read our guide here

 3. Train your recruiters and hiring managers

Unconscious bias is unavoidable, but it is possible to minimize it. Sometimes all it takes is highlighting an area of possible bias to cause a hiring manager to become more sensitive.

Organizations can ensure recruiters and hiring managers are aware of possible unconscious bias by providing training on proper terminology, avoiding gender identity, and using gender-neutral terminology.

Awareness is the baseline necessity to ensure that LGBTQ+ candidates feel comfortable during the recruitment process, and this awareness allows for new habits to form. 

4. Communicate your company's commitment to diversity and inclusion on your careers pages

Whether it’s your website, LinkedIn jobs page, or third-party service, your organization’s DEI statement should be front and center. It’s a simple move that can pay dividends in the form of more diverse applicants. And more diverse applicants means, of course, a more robust pool from which to hire. 

Learn how Recruitee is working towards creating a culture of inclusion and belonging.

Read more here

5. Be explicit about benefits for same-sex partners and families.

The most basic question a candidate has is about salary and benefits. If your company extends benefits to same-sex partners and provides family assistance to queer parents in the form of adoption support and parental leave, state that upfront. It’s a great tool to attract and engage LGBTQ+ candidates, and it is perhaps the most concrete form of support you can offer to LGBTQ+ employees. 

6. Ask your LGBTQ+ employees if they’re willing to be a resource

One of the best ways for a candidate to get to know a company is to chat with employees in a similar situation. For an LGBTQ+ candidate, it’s helpful not only to speak with a potential departmental colleague but also with a member of the organization who can better empathize with their unique circumstances.

If you have LGBTQ+ members of your organization who are interested in sharing their experience (without it adding additional labor or compromising their task focus), they might be the reason a candidate accepts a position. Human connection and relationships are deeply impactful during the hiring process.


Are you looking to create a more inclusive LGBTQ+ workplace?

Check our tips here

It doesn't end here

The work of fostering an organization that not only permits but values diversity is ongoing. There is no final step in achieving full, unbiased diversity. It’s a process, and one that is ultimately borne out at every level of an organization.

A focus on LGBTQ+ candidates is necessary, but the call to diversity includes disabilities, educational backgrounds, nationalities, ethnicities, religions, neurodivergence, and more. Fostering anti-bias in any of these areas results in a workforce that is better prepared and positioned to tackle the problems facing the global economy.


Want to continue improving your workplace to be more inclusive and diverse?

Find our guides here

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