Sep 13, 2023
by Lucy Morgan

How to work with your recruitment partners to enable them to support your DE&I objectives

In many recent DE&I events I have attended, I have been asked about how to attract more diverse talent to a business at shortlisting stage. Of course, there are many ways a business can do this internally, but using the right recruiters to support you is a really important component within this.

So, in a world where there are many recruiters to choose from, how can you make sure that you are selecting the best ones to support your goals, and how can you enable them to deliver for you? Here’s my top advice:

Selecting a recruitment partner:

  1. Select a recruitment partner who can clearly demonstrate their DE&I commitment and strategy to you – don’t just take their word for it but review their LinkedIn page and their website to check that this is something clearly embedded in how they work.
  2. Work with a specialist agency who work in the area that you need to find talent – this means they are more likely to be constantly building networks in their specialist area, meaning from the starting point they should have a wider candidate network to choose from.
  3. Ask the agency their source of candidates and look for a good variety between advert responses, job boards, their own network, referrals and headhunting to make sure they can do the hard work on sourcing for you, across multiple channels.
  4. Ask them about their own DE&I journey – what is their demographic data? How do they create an inclusive environment for their business? What training have they had? Being able to deliver DE&I services for clients should start with the recruiter getting their own house in order first.
  5. Ensure they safeguard candidates – ask they how they remove unconscious bias from their own screening, make sure they give candidates feedback, ask them how they ensure equality for every candidate they represent, check they make their process accessible.
  6. Ask them for insights from the market – a recruitment business who is committed to DE&I should be able to explain to you what good DE&I practises they are seeing in the market and how those are executed.
  7. Test any DE&I data they present to you – data within DE&I is a challenging subject, if recruiters are presenting data on the demographic of their placements or shortlists, ask how they are accessing this data, how they ensure the data is accurate, and how it is stored safely and securely.


How to set your recruitment partner up for success:

  1. Give them the information they need to highlight your DE&I journey to candidates, such as sharing information on your commitment to DE&I, your current demographic, your DE&I goals and what you want to achieve and why.
  2. Share full salary and package details including any inclusive benefits such as parental leave or mental health support, so they can provide it to a candidate without them having to ask.
  3. Share policies such as your zero-discrimination policy or DE&I policy so they can share it with candidates.
  4. Talk to your recruiter about your interview process and how you make it inclusive – so they can share this with candidates and help you to deliver an exceptional candidate experience.
  5. Tell them about your inclusivity initiatives – if you have ERGs in your business, celebrate the cultural calendar, do lots of CSR work – share this with them so they can tell a story to candidates.
  6. Give them the time to run a search for you – allow a sensible amount of time to deliver a diverse shortlist, rather than a “as quick as you can” approach, which will mean agencies go straight to the people they know, in the name of speed.
  7. Work with an agency exclusively – if you work with multiple agencies, a recruiter’s ‘go to’ will be to get you CVs as quickly as possible as they know there is competition; this means you will get the first people they know rather than allowing them to do a full search and shortlist down to the right selection of people for you.
  8. Allow them to test your requirements – if you are looking for the impossible, or have too many requirements, let an agency challenge you on this and boil it down to the “must haves” to allow for more diversity in the shortlist, with a realistic brief.
  9. Feedback and communication are key – make sure all candidates receive feedback from CV through to offer stage and set up regular times to touch base with your recruiter so they can communicate with you and discuss any challenges etc.
  10. Put your trust in them – if you are busy and speed is important (which it always is), could you consider doing something like providing the agency with timeslots for interviews and let them work towards booking the best people into your diary? This will save you time screening CVs, going backwards and forwards on arranging interviews and will remove some unconscious bias from your selection process.

If you’d like to discuss anything DE&I related or want to speak to Pod about inclusive searches, reach out to our CEO and DE&I enthusiast, Lucy Morgan, on