Improving recruitment processes to support diversity, equity, and inclusion

Kia ora,
We’re committed to improving our DE&I practices and creating a team that reflects the community we live in.

I’d love to hear about how you approach recruitment and hiring in a way that welcomes applications from a broad range of people.

We’ve implemented an anonymised process for reviewing applications, but I’ve seen mixed reviews on how well that works. What else have you done to minimise bias in your process?

Ngā mihi


Hi Penny,
We have done blind recruitment for our senior positions, with great success.
We also run a work experience program for refugees. We use this program as a great talent benching approach and have a high rate of recruiting the individuals into our business after they graduation the program.
Happy to provide more detail on each if it helps.
Regards, Wendy


Hi @PennydeBorst
Recruitment is a tricky scenario for us at the moment as a lot of people left the industry during COVID. Staff shortages seem to be everywhere however, and supposedly the lack of international workers in Australia is a big factor. I am currently on the hunt for 2x senior positions and it is very slim pickings out there.
We have very clear messaging in our ads about diversity and acceptance. The ‘blind recruitment method’ is always ‘ON’ for us.
But we also get the wider team to select the top 20% of the applications before they come through to senior mgmt for the final call on interviews. Our team is very active and conscious of the diversity issues and I feel we get a pretty broad range of people through this method.
However, it’s still really difficult to find people with the right experience for us.

@WendyMcCormick I love the idea of W/E for refugees! We have looked into that for our casual crew requirements before but it hasn’t got going yet. Do you go through a body like Asylum Centre Resource Centre?


Thanks Marky and Wendy – those are both great initiatives!

And yes, we’re having the same issues here, but we’re hoping that our reputation for culture and our purpose-driven work will help attract some fantastic people.

Ngā mihi



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@Marky yes we find better sucess going through one of the support agencies. In QLD we use Multicultural Australia, they have a great Work Welcome Program, alternatively in Melbourne yes I would use ASRC.

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@Marky ASCR is a fantastic org to consider if you are in Melbourne, and so is AMES. In NSW, you can consider SSI, who also operate in VIC and QLD.

Not sure if it is economically feasible but after we did DEI training across the entire organization, the non profit I was at also paired the directors with DEI executive coaches. We sussed out that while my team was diverse in terms of racial composition(which I was quite proud of and frankly, I wasn’t sure why I needed executive coaching), my coach helped point out that I had a very strong bias toward candidates who were first/second generation immigrant(90% of my team). And surprise, surprise… I’m a second generation immigrant. Whoops.

Came to the realization that creating DEI is a long and involved process of thinking differently which is a challenge when our brains are made to create nice comfortable patterns of behavior so it doesn’t have to be so damn hard all the time.

Hi Penny!

This might be more detail than you need. I got a bit carried away!

We were really aware that we needed to make changes encourage different candidates to apply at the same time as trying to remove bias from our recruitment process so we made changes to encourage both things at the same time.

We added some inclusive wording to our job ads (with the help of our B Corp forum friends!) with the hope it would encourage people of different backgrounds to apply. We landed on “We celebrate different perspectives. We’re committed to creating an equal, inclusive, and diverse workplace. We know we do better work if we have a diverse mix of people on our team. “

We also review each ad for bias language before putting a job ad live. We’re lucky to have an inhouse content team to do this.

In our job application we ask what pronouns the candidate would like us to use.

We also worked on telling the story of our diverse team publicly in the hope it would make people feel comfortable to apply.

Blind CV’s don’t work too well in our industry. A CV or candidate profile pretty quickly links out to someone’s online design portfolio or public code profile. So we decided that wouldn’t work for us. We decided to focus on the outcome we were trying to achieve and have regular conversations about it to keep it top of mind.

We started talking about our hiring goals internally at the start of a hiring process, with our internal team and with recruiters. Often asking our managers to look at the make up of their current department/team and how we can make it more representative of NZ. We have some hiring goals based on a D&I survey we did with our team which we used to identify where our team wasn’t representative of the NZ population. We talk about those goals before the team starts reviewing CVs to make it top of mind. It also helps us talk about how we can target those candidate markets when advertising.

At the hiring kick off we also think about how we can make an inclusive interview team to help remove bias when reviewing CVs and at interview stage. We try to have a balance of gender in the team reviewing CVs and a balance of ethnicity if possible. Then the same at the various interview stages.

We’ve tried to stop saying ‘Culture fit’ and say ‘Culture add’ instead.

Plus one for Unconscious bias training. We asked Diversity Works to come in and do a Workshop for a big chunk of our team. We’re chipping away at putting everyone through that training.

We’ve tried a few different types of Recruitment agency and job boards with mixed success over the last few years. This is my next one to investigate ​​ and Te Matarau. Also Workbridge are a great resource.

Some Resources for you:

Excerpt from this blog ^^


We’re actively working on how we recruit new staff members and are always developing our process to ensure a fair and unbiased approach:

  • Extending our reach: we try to extend adverts into as many communities as possible, by posting in Māori and Pasifika spaces, working with recruiters who find placements for disabled people, and reaching out into women led spaces.

  • Using unbiased language: we avoid using words such as ‘ninja’ and ‘rockstar’ as research shows these can imply an overly masculine and aggressive work environment, so their use is very gendered and can be off putting to women. We also made an active choice to refer to ‘primary caregiver leave’, as opposed to ‘maternity’ or ‘parental leave’, to be more inclusive of different family structures.

  • Restructuring our job ads: we now lead with information about Springload and what we can offer potential new recruits. This decision was based on research into how we could make our ads more appealing to Māori and Pasifika communities, where strong community and a supportive work environment are highly valued.

  • Examining our interview criteria: to encourage diversity of thought, it’s important to realise that viewpoints outside of the dominant group bring value to a team. This is why we’ve been changing the way we think about how people will work at Springload — it’s important to avoid only hiring people who will be a ‘good fit’. We’ve learned that the concept of a ‘culture fit’ can be damaging in this space as it implicitly enables biased thinking about who can work well here.

Hope this helps!


Wow, Claire - thanks so much! You’ve included some really helpful and practical guidance here. I’ll definitely share this with our management team.

We actually took inspiration from your job ads! We’ve added a similar statement, and we’re careful with our words (as you’d expect from wordsy people like us :slight_smile: )

We’re a little like you, in that blind CVs aren’t always so useful when we’re recruiting trainers and documents consultants. We’ve found it helpful to have people complete a writing exercise before we even get to ‘introductory chats’, as that helps us to get a sense of someone’s work before we look at their CV or meet with them.

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