TJ interviews: Occupop’s Caroline Gleeson

Caroline Gleeson outlines how a progressive and open workplace can be achieved.

How can the hiring process foster inclusivity in the workplace from the very beginning of an employee’s journey with their company?

HR teams need to revise the hiring process with D&I in mind. Start with your hiring requirements; consider who you need to hire for each role and what an individual can add.

Historically the term ‘culture fit’ was used but companies should be moving towards a mentality of ‘culture add’ i.e. what an individual can bring to be successful in the role but also how they will compliment the whole team and the organisation. Make sure to promote this mentality of adding value through both hard and soft skills when advertising your roles.

Next, HR teams should revise job descriptions, promoting the D&I mission and removing any words or phrases that infer bias. For example, reference to gender, use of the words dominating or challenging and removing the necessity for high-level college degree or masters unless the role absolutely requires it. 

Make sure to promote this mentality of adding value through both hard and soft skills when advertising your roles.

Finally, use blind screening software to help you overcome potential bias during the screening stage by anonymising details such as name, age and gender. Psychometric testing is also a great way to review candidates in a non-bias psychological manner and accurately see where they can add value in terms of their soft skills. 

How has the new era of remote work impacted the hiring process? 

Remote work is here to stay, so hiring managers must act quickly to adapt their hiring processes accordingly. 

Remote working has highlighted the need for HR teams to digitise the hiring process. Companies must ensure they can fill positions for their business without risking health and safety but also ensure the overall recruitment process and collaboration with hiring teams doesn’t suffer. This shift has given rise to the need for technologies to facilitate the recruitment process completely online.

Cloud-based applicant tracking systems enable a complete end-to-end hiring experience online. Video interviewing tools and psychometric testing, as mentioned, are also increasing in popularity as they aid the interview and assessment process in a fully remote environment whilst encouraging diversity and inclusion. 

How can AI help us champion inclusivity in the workplace?

The common misconception surrounding AI technology is that it will have a negative effect on diverse candidate selection, with AI creating bias and selecting attributes that the technology perceives as ‘successful’ and therefore promoting certain candidates over others. 


It is important to clarify that AI technology is an aide that is controlled by the recruiter themselves and what they include in the job criteria. It’s also important to know that AI screening tools work by word association and not by keyword matching, it will only scan and select the most suitable candidates against what you set out in your job necessities. 

AI technology is an additional resource that removes the time-intensive elements from CV screening and actually allows you to add the ‘human’ side back into the hiring process. This gives HR teams the opportunity to create a more positive, inclusive hiring process, focusing on the individuals and the interview stages and in turn a more inclusive workplace. 

What do you see as the key steps in nurturing a more inclusive workplace?

The first step is ensuring that diversity and inclusion is embraced by everyone, particularly by business leaders. It is a top-down, company-wide approach that must normalise D&I and allow everyone to feel equal and accepted. It’s also vital that companies acknowledge and tackle bias through recognition and training programmes.

Biases are naturally occurring but unless they are acknowledged and appropriate training is provided, there will always be an underlying issue. 

A D&I council is a great way to normalise and encourage ongoing improvement in this area. This council should act as a type of task force dedicated to diversity and inclusion, and it should include members from various ethnicities, genders, ages, departments and skill levels. 

Finally, report on your diversity and inclusion openly in company meetings but also on social media. Sharing your D&I goals, and successes shows your employees that you respect their differences and their place in your company. This will have a positive impact on retention but also talent attraction.


Abot the intervieww

Caroline Gleeson is CEO and co-founder of Occupop.


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