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Building a barrier-free candidate experience

Organisations that embrace diversity at all levels perform better; they’re more profitable, more resilient and employees experience higher job satisfaction and productivity as a result. 

As an organisation that interviews over 4,000 candidates and places over 130 diverse leaders every year, we play an integral part in inclusivity and are committed to championing underrepresented people who will shape a better society through the organisations we work with. 

As the UK celebrates LGBTQ+ Pride month we have been reflecting on how supported diverse candidates and individuals in our networks feel when approached for a new role. Co-Chair of our LGBTQ+ Affinity Group and Senior Researcher within our Digital, Data & Technology team, Katherine O’Donnell has compiled the following guide to share some of the “Why’s” and “What” you can expect from a GatenbySanderson approach, as a diverse candidate. 

The challenges diverse candidates can face 

There are still sectors, such as  built environment, technology, and data where there is  significant underrepresentation of women, LGBTQ+ individuals, people with a disability and those from diverse ethnic backgrounds. A consequence is that individuals, like you, often face numerous recruitment attempts from organisations and recruiters aiming to diversify their senior roles and boards.  

Diverse individuals will often be approached due to their unique perspectives. While this can feel overwhelming, it does indicate the high value placed on diversity. 

Why we are approaching you  

We reach out to you because we believe you have the best skills and perspectives to bring to the role we are filling.  Diverse candidates are increasingly sought because they bring unique experiences and viewpoints that are crucial for the organisational growth and innovation.   

We want to discuss opportunities that might be a great fit for you based upon both your skills and perspective, not one over the other, and get your thoughts on roles that could benefit from your expertise.   

At GatenbySanderson, we recognise the emotional and psychological impact that may arise when you feel you are being approached for a role primarily because of your diversity characteristics. We fully acknowledge and respect the validity of these concerns. Our teams are specifically trained to handle such sensitive matters with empathy and respect.  

How our processes are inclusive 

We are far more than recruiters. We are a leading advisory  placing both executive interim and permanent talent and offering   leadership and talent consultancy.. We leverage our expertise to shape roles and guide organisations towards more inclusive hiring practices and leadership development.  

For our clients this ensures diversity is intrinsic to all roles we place to enhance the organisation’s leadership structure and prospects and inclusivity is considered end to end from the hiring process to onboarding. We also advocate for roles that prioritise leadership skills. For example, we recently placed the Director of Technology at one of the UKs leading Universities, which focused more on leadership over purely technical skills. 

For you as a candidate, that could include: 

  • Identifying impact: Identifying roles where a combination of your background, lived experiences, knowledge and skills can make a significant impact
  • Step-up roles: We might suggest roles that are slightly beyond your current experience level but where you have most of the necessary skills and can grow into the right role with development and support
  • Geographic flexibility: Some roles may require relocation or extended travel. We understand this can be challenging, especially in less diverse or remote areas, and we are committed to negotiating flexible arrangements to suit your needs
  • Support and adjustments: We will support you throughout the process, from understanding the role to preparing for interviews and providing feedback throughout. We will advocate for any reasonable adjustments you might need and ensure these are discussed with potential employers to create an inclusive environment
  • Confidentiality and respect: We respect your privacy and any characteristics you choose to share or keep private. We will never disclose your protected characteristics without your permission and will work with our clients to assist them in promoting workplaces that are welcoming and inclusive.

How we will continue to support aligned with those future changes 

With net promoter score* of +73, we know our candidates consistently receive a world-class experience but there’s always more we can do to ensure we build long-term relationships based on integrity and mutual respect. Your feedback is invaluable to us; it helps us continually refine and improve our approaches and practices, identify potential barriers to ensure we serve our candidates with the utmost integrity and consideration. 

 Our ongoing commitment to all candidates is to: 

  • Represent your interests and support you throughout the recruitment process 
  • Provide honest feedback and only encourage applications where we see a realistic and beneficial fit 
  • Advocate for our clients to be committed to diversity and inclusion 
  • Support your needs and preferences, including geographical and logistical considerations. 

In conclusion, we approach you not just because of your diversity, but because we genuinely believe in your potential to excel and bring valuable contributions to senior roles across public life. We hope to be your allies in this journey, helping you navigate and seize opportunities that align with your skills and aspirations. 

*Net promoter score is a globally recognised measure of customer satisfaction with a range of scores from –100 to +100 

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