Tom Hadley: Recruitment industry still has a lot of work to do

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The Independent Online

I'm not really surprised by this research – we know one of the biggest challenges in recruitment is to try to make it as objective as possible. We've made a lot of progress in the UK in recent years though, and it would be unheard of to attach a photo on a CV here. It's pretty normal now for employees to not even have their dates of birth on their CVs.

There are, however, different approaches abroad. I was brought up in France and putting photos on CVs was still happening when I was looking for my first job there 20 years ago. A lot of job seekers look for work in other countries these days, so it highlights how an awareness of foreign recruitment cultures can be important.

Job seekers here should not make their CVs bland, but there's a well recognised form of standardisation, which involves taking out things that could sway people's preconceptions. You might say it's made it more boring, but there are things in place to avoid any suspicion that things are being subjective.

It is interesting to see that there was less discrimination when people went through a recruitment agency, because staff are heavily trained to be objective to candidates. It's human nature to make presumptions, but you have to challenge yourself to be aware of that, and you can also use techniques to ensure you are being fair, such as situational interviews to find out how people would react in specific circumstances.

Employers are keen to avoid the risk of being accused of prejudice and facing tribunals, so they often have two or three people involved in an interview to take care that appointments are less of a personal whim, and group or secondary interviews are more common too. Prejudice isn't just bad for the candidates, after all – it's bad for the employers if it stops them selecting the best people.

Tom Hadley is a director of the Recruitment and Employment Federation

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