Westminster accessible recruitment case study

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The University of Westminster Academic Engagement and Learning Development (AELD) – Library and Archives Services engaged in a recruitment improvement activity following training focussed on better supporting employing autistic and other neurodiverse applicants.

The purpose of this improvement activity was to trial options to offer a more inclusive recruitment process and deliver practical application of the University of Westminster EDI principles:

The approaches the AELD team took as part of this exercise were:

The aims of these approaches were to:

“We wanted to make the interview not about finding someone who is best at thinking on their feet or answering interview questions, but rather, to find the candidate who aligns with the needs of the role and the service.”

When first suggesting a change to the interview process there were some expected initial concerns and assumptions:

To mitigate the concerns about over enabling lower quality candidates, the Westminster team added the following actions to the interview process:

The Westminster team not only wanted to trial and provide their own feedback on the changed recruitment process but were keen to get feedback from the candidates themselves. As part of the commitment to transparency in the process, the trial status of this process and the request for feedback from all candidates post offers being made (so that feedback would not impact any judging) was clearly communicated.

The outcomes from this case study therefore includes feedback from the interview panel members and from the candidates about their experience.

Panel feedback

Candidate feedback

16 candidates gave formal feedback. Candidates gave immediate informal feedback at the end of the interview. Majority stated immediately that they found it very helpful and thought the interview pack with questions was a good idea.

Quotes from candidates:

Outcomes

The recruitment improvement exercise was treated as a success by the team due to the positive responses from both interviewers and candidates.

The panel agreed that candidates were able to deliver more in depth answers which supported them in making more confident choices in who to hire. They felt this was due to candidates being given time in advance with the question to better consider their responses, as well as the improved atmosphere for the interviews which panellists felt made it a less stressful environment.

Likewise, candidates overwhelmingly commented on how Westminster is clearly committed to EDI and compassionate employment, and that candidates would want to continue to explore ways to work with the university in future because of the positive experience they had as part of this process.

Next steps

Our thoughts on the case study

We think this case study is a great example of the benefits that can come with making recruitment activities more accessible.

Every organisation has some form of EDI commitments that normally include creating an inclusive and welcoming workplace. Accessible recruitment is quite literally the practical actions to live up to those commitments. But not only is it a way of delivering on your responsibilities, but it is better for everyone involved. A definitive win-win for both recruiters and applicants.

Specifically, we like that the AELD team:

Resources

Download a copy of the Westminster welcome pack created during the case study.

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