How to Improve Recruitment 

This page gives a summary of steps that you can take to improve your recruitment processes at the University. Steps are outlined and links are provided to take you to other relevant pages and resources for more detailed information.

The aim of our diversification work is to improve equality of opportunity to allow the best talent to work at our University. We are not setting quotas or introducing preferential treatment. We are working to remove barriers that people may face based on immutable characteristics. Our work is focused on traditionally underrepresented groups but the actions that are recommended will improve the recruitment process for everyone.

The steps outlined below involve the legal use of Positive Action.

Click here for more information on Positive Action


1. Write accurate ATJs

Ensure that the About the Job (ATJ) that you use aren't just recycled from old roles which may have become outdated. 

When reviewing an ATJ you should consider what skills and capabilities you are stating to be essential. This is not about lowering the bar; this is about communicating that applicants can transfer the skills that they have in other sectors into another area. E.g. An entry role in the Library may not need a degree in Librarianship if the skills required for the job are more to do with customer service. Thus that degree requirement may be desirable but not necessary and stating this can help to reach a wider pool of talent that also have the level of competence required.

The role you recruit for may not just be about what the immediate requirements are, you should also think about what future requirements may come in and what existing skills are present in your team. Take time to update them so that they are attracting exactly the type of talent that you need in the present and in the future.

Click here for more information on ATJs


2. Advertise roles to increase engagement

Advertising roles in the same places every time can result in the same pool of applicants being drawn on. For more senior positions, you may wish to use a specialist recruitment company to help get those important vacancies filled.

For most other roles, you can use the following website to promote them after they are live: https://www.diversitydashboard.co.uk/job-search/

If you are interested in using the dashboard, the Equality Team will upload the role for you - please email us on HREquality@sheffield.ac.uk once your vacancy is live on our normal eRec system.

You can also use your departmental social media accounts to promote roles. Tips on using social media in recruitment can be found here.

As the University and other organisations have moved to a more dynamic approach to working, it is important that you reflect on the needs of the role in terms of location and working pattern. Does the candidate need to be on campus all of the time? Or is the role open to other arrangements? This will help to attract people who are talented but might not be able to commit to being on campus all the time. This is a decision that should be made with your department. Signalling this dynamic approach to the working conditions in ATJs and job adverts will attract more talent.



3. Anonymous shortlisting

You could task someone who is not directly involved in the shortlisting or hiring process in your team/department to anonymise applications by removing their personal details such as name, sex, ethnicity etc. before shortlisting candidates.

This will ensure that details that are not relevant to the recruitment do not influence decisions being made. Anonymous shortlisting enables recruiters to focus on the skills, experience, and competence levels of the candidates and reduce the chance that stereotypes or confirmation bias play a role in the decision making processes.

Exceptions to this would be if the characteristic of the person is essential for the role, e.g. sex when wanting to hire a female security officer to conduct same sex searches.

There are also cases that relate to the Disability Confident Scheme which guarantees applicants who meet the criteria for the scheme and the essential requirements for the role, an interview.


4. Allow for reasonable adjustments

You should be ready to offer extra reasonable assistance to candidates should they make their requirements known to you. This can include taking simple steps such as:

  • conducting the interview at a location that is accessible to candidates who have mobility difficulties
  • helping candidates who have hearing impairments with quiet settings
  • offering an interpreter for those who communicate via sign language.

5. Avoid conformity bias

When shortlisting or interviewing candidates, it is important for recruiters to form their own judgement without influence from others. This is to avoid conformity bias which is the tendency where some people tend to say what they think others will say, or agree with what has already been said rather than form their own thoughts.

Conformity Bias can be reduced by scoring candidates independently until all candidates have been interviewed.


6. Judge candidates as individuals

Always remember that you are hiring on a case by case basis and so you should judge candidates as individuals. Any stereotypes that may exist or any statistics that you may be aware of about the most common types of people in that role/sector that you are hiring for should be irrelevant in the recruitment process. This is because individuals can go completely against the stereotypes.

Judging candidates as individuals will mean that people who do not fit any stereotypes are not discriminated against. 


7. Hire the best candidate

Make it clear in the application process and the ATJ that the best candidate will be hired.

Hiring the best candidate signals to everyone that when a person from an underrepresented group is hired, that they are done so because of merit. This instills confidence in the hiring processes and the University as no one is given unfair preferential treatment.