One of the main challenges in human resource management that companies face today is recruiting without discrimination.

In a context where diversity and inclusion are increasingly valued and demanded, it is crucial for companies to implement fair and inclusive recruitment practices.

To achieve this, they must first master the rules and processes necessary to ensure a non-discriminatory approach throughout the recruitment process, from drafting the job advertisement to the final candidate selection.

In this article, discover everything you need to know to recruit without discrimination.

What is recruitment discrimination?

Discrimination in the recruitment process can be a conscious or unconscious phenomenon which can be visible in various ways during the hiring process.

It can involve introducing subjective criteria in the job description that are neither related to the candidates’ qualifications nor their professional experience.

Discrimination also occurs when the recruiter asks questions that are deemed discriminatory during the job interview.

Additionally, the company’s communication services may practice discrimination by using channels to distribute vacancies that are not accessible to all types of candidates.

Just as there are different approaches to discrimination, there are also different types of discrimination in recruitment. For example, the following can be cited:

  • Gender or sex-based discrimination;
  • Segregation based on the candidate’s age
  • Differences in treatment based on ethnicity or race
  • Discrimination based on political beliefs
  • Exclusion of people with disabilities
  • Segregation based on sexual orientation
  • Discrimination is based on religion or family situation.

Therefore, recruiting without discrimination requires attention to many factors throughout the hiring process.

What does the law say about recruitment discrimination?

Article 122-45 of the Labour Code prohibits all types of companies from discriminating against job applicants during the recruitment process.

The law also sets out several criteria considered discriminatory that the relevant services must not include in the job advertisement.

Therefore, a company wishing to recruit without discrimination must ensure that its job advertisement contains none of these criteria, does not address men, women, or non-binary people differently, and does not mention the candidate’s age.

It must also use communication channels accessible to all to publish its recruitment ad.

What are the consequences of discrimination for companies?

Non-discrimination against job applicants is not only a major issue for companies, but also a legal obligation.

Any organization that does not ensure to recruit without discrimination is liable to a fine and imprisonment, as defined by the competent civil or criminal authority.

The law allows candidates who are victims of discrimination during hiring (according to the conditions of Article 225-1 of the Penal Code) to seek criminal or civil recourse to file a complaint and obtain redress.

Criminal recourse is made before the criminal court. The victim can turn to the competent courts to initiate legal proceedings.

Civil recourse involves the Labor Court. It allows the victim to obtain compensation commensurate with the harm caused.

Furthermore, other resources are possible through union associations or organizations such as SOS Racisme and the Defender of Rights, among others.

If the plaintiff’s accusations are found to be justified, the company responsible for the discrimination risks a fine of up to €225,000 and a ban on operating.

It is also important to note that the image and employer brand of such a company can be severely compromised.

What are the steps to follow to recruit without discrimination?

To succeed in their recruitment and not break the law, companies must pay special attention to the issue of non-discrimination in hiring. Here are the steps to follow to ensure recruiting without discrimination, intentionally or unintentionally.

1. Objectively defining recruitment needs

To avoid any risk of discrimination, companies must objectively determine what they expect from the candidate for the position to be filled.

This exercise involves identifying and listing the tasks to be performed and, for each of them, the required skills and professional experience. It may also be useful to evaluate the soft skills necessary for the position.

Of course, the department responsible for this step must ensure that each criterion promotes non-discrimination (always refer to the law) and improves the quality of recruitment.

It is very important that the wording of each task is neutral and relevant, not based on personal judgments.

2. Formalizing the recruitment process

To support the objective definition of needs to recruit without discrimination, it is essential to formalize the process.

This means that HR must establish transparent and, above all, traceable procedures, which will ensure the application of the same criteria to all candidates at each stage of recruitment.

This formalization involves creating tools and documents that promote equality and objectivity in the process.

This includes creating job descriptions, interview grids, application forms, interview reports, or even establishing a psychometric test and a standardized personality test.

This approach not only demonstrates the company’s willingness to recruit without discrimination but also represents a strong argument for its defense if a complaint is filed.

3. Searching for applications

This step is delicate because it increases the risk of discrimination during recruitment. Indeed, even the most capable companies that recruit without discrimination can fall into the trap of targeted candidate searches.

This implies that the job ad is published through pre-identified sources, such as associations, known professional and personal networks, specialized schools, etc. This constitutes a discriminatory approach since the chances of discovering the offer are not equally accessible to all potential candidates.

To remedy this, it is recommended to diversify recruitment by favoring broader distribution of the advertisement. This allows reaching as many people with the right profile as possible, increasing the chances of finding the ideal candidate.

4. Non-discriminatory selection of applications

This step requires those responsible for recruiting without discrimination to restrict their own prejudices and stereotypes when selecting candidates.

To facilitate this, the company must set up a framework that leaves no room for personal considerations.

To do this, several physical and digital tools can be used that offer the same opportunities to candidates, such as a standardized logic test, for example.

It is also possible to adopt practices such as situational exercises, anonymous selection, or defining questions more relevant to skills than personality.

5. Conducting non-discriminatory interviews

While it is possible to implement various tools to create a job offer that allows recruiting without discrimination, it is more difficult to maintain objectivity criteria during the job interview.

Therefore, it is important at this stage to develop questions so that each one assesses the individual’s skills in relation to the needs of the position to be filled.

6. Non-discriminatory hiring

The final step to facilitate non-discrimination in recruitment is to define the hiring conditions independently of the candidate.

This means that the nature and duration of the contract, the type of remuneration, the application for a probationary period, etc. should not depend on the person in front of you but on the requirements of the position.

At this stage, formalizing recruitment remains the best asset the organization has to ensure the absence of discriminatory criteria or decisions in its hiring process.

The use of AI in recruitment can also be very helpful as it helps avoid human biases.

Some good practices to recruit without discrimination

A company that wishes to recruit without discrimination must adopt certain good practices to promote equal opportunities and ensure the absence of any form of discrimination.

Anonymizing the CV in the ATS

By masking all personal information on the CV, the company ensures recruitment based solely on the candidate’s professional abilities.

To do this, it must use an ATS (Applicant Tracking System) that allows the recruitment team to obtain only professional data. This practice eliminates selection biases and gives applicants the same chance to reach the job interview stage.

Adopting an ethically certified ATS

An ethically certified ATS is a system that operates based on ethical principles. Its algorithms are designed to apply rules that comply with the law regarding the use of personal information during recruitment.

This tool also has key features (equal opportunities, scoring, anonymization, etc.), which effectively help recruit without discrimination.

Training managers

Training managers is necessary to educate them on the current law and the consequences of non-compliance with regulations and to teach them non-discrimination methods.

It also introduces them to techniques and tools to recruit without discrimination, such as recruitment KPIs on diversity and inclusion.

Furthermore, it can also be useful to draw their attention to the impact of personal considerations and stereotypes on the process.

In short, with the right tools and a good knowledge of the rules and practices of non-discrimination, companies can improve their hiring process to successfully recruit without discrimination.