At UK Youth, we’re doing things a bit differently

27 April 2021

  • Latest news

We’re taking a fresh approach to equal opportunities and recruitment

We are excited to share news that we have moved onto a new recruitment platform that marks a step change in how we will find and connect with diverse talent.

My name is Gemma and if you were reading my application for a role with your organisation and you saw my name, it wouldn’t tell you a great deal about my abilities.

Yet research shows us that knowing a candidate’s name whilst assessing them for a role could unconsciously influence your opinion. It could be that your best mate or a person on TV is called Gemma, and so you unconsciously favour me. Or it could be that you hold preconceived notions about gender-fit for your role, and so you instinctively mark me down a little.

This is called unconscious bias, and it is a coping mechanism used by our brains to make sense of the huge amount of data that is fed to us at all times of the day. We use unconscious bias to help us make quick decisions and navigate the world around us. Traditional methods of hiring (assessing piles of CVs and cover letters) involve hiring managers making very quick decisions about a person’s suitability for a role based on the limited information on a 2-page CV.

Given that we know unconscious bias is used by the brain to support on the spot decisions, what assumptions are we making during this process? E.g. did I just score that person higher because they went to the same university as me? Or did I just score that person down because I fell out with someone of the same name?

Most of the time, hiring managers won’t be aware of these biases that are affecting their decisions, and so it’s important that we work harder to remove the opportunity for bias to influence a decision.

At UK Youth we are fiercely committed to attracting a wider diversity of talent into our organisation. We have decided to do this, by moving our hiring processes onto the “Applied Recruitment System.”

“Ndidi Okezie, CEO of UK Youth says: “As we launch our new strategy and the organisational structure to deliver on it; we are making bold commitments to diversifying the backgrounds and experiences of our staff across all levels and we believe this platform is a key piece in helping us do that.”

By working this way, the Applied recruitment system allows us to choose the best people for the role based on merit, and not on how well they can write a CV or if we identify with names/backgrounds etc. We believe that this is a real step towards ensuring we are consistently making fair decisions removing bias as far as is possible. We have already seen a significant increase in the diversity of candidates coming through to interview.

“Bradley Franks from Applied says: ‘We’re delighted to be working with the forward-thinking team at UK Youth. By removing bias from their hiring process, we’ve already boosted the proportion of talented candidates from under-represented backgrounds getting hired. The team are well on their way to meeting their goals around improving representation and at the forefront of progressing important work regarding boosting equity in the non-profit sector.’

Already, we’ve seen a significant increase in the diversity of candidates coming through to interview. So far, the feedback from candidates using the platform has been overwhelmingly positive:

“It’s a great way to view a candidate’s CV without being biased based on any factors that can prevent them from getting hired. Especially if the company is all about helping and elevating people with a disadvantaged background.” Digital Communications Officer

“I can only testify to the process to the point I have submitted my application, I hope the assessment is equally exciting and objective. Thanks for thinking out of the box! “ Project Manager

“A great way to remain unbias and focus solely on the responses of the individual, to align with the expectations for the job.” Personal Assistant (part-time 0.5 FTE)

 We’re excited to see the ongoing results of this new approach. If you’re looking for a new direction and have skills to ensure young people thrive, check out our latest roles.

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