How to run a fair interview process

Every business wants to hire the best candidates on the market. However, a recruitment process that isn’t attracting a wide breadth of candidates or giving all interviewees a fair opportunity to present themselves properly could hinder your recruitment efforts and reflect poorly on your employer brand.

In this post, we provide advice on how to run a fair recruitment process, finding the candidate with the right skill set, experience and the best cultural fit.

Prepare well

Preparation involves taking the time to identify the need for a new hire. What is the role and responsibilities in the position? And what are the skills, experience and competencies of the ideal candidate to perform well, and what is a ‘nice to have’ that could potentially exclude applicants?

To make sure you hire someone that truly fits the role, include the hiring manager and team members who will be working alongside the person in this role, do they have any requirements you have missed?

Refrain from making quick judgements

Whether conscious or unconscious, bias can quickly creep in when assessing candidates from afar or when forming a first impression.

It takes determination and personal awareness to consciously choose to take an unbiased approach to each candidate and allow yourself time to get to know them and understand their experience, values and vision before making a more informed assessment.

This applies to making snap decisions or leading with preconceived ideas based on the individual’s gender, appearance, race, or socio-economic group.

Check recruitment advertising

You must conduct an objective review of all of the recruitment advertising to make sure that material doesn’t contain images or descriptions that could alienate candidates.

Research from language tool Textio has found that the use of gender-associated words influenced the gender of the person that was hired. For instance, words like, ‘analyse’ and ‘determine’ are perceived to be male orientated, while ‘collaborate’ and ‘support’ are considered female.

To encourage a variety of candidates to apply, all recruitment advertising needs to use gender-neutral roles, language and the use of superlatives such as ‘expert’ and ‘world-class’.

When working with a recruitment agency, you need to ensure that they understand your drive to create an equal and fair recruitment process and should avoid this language when communicating with candidates.

Introduce a values-based process

An excellent way to remove discrimination from the recruitment process is to adopt a values-based approach when hiring.

To do so, your business will need to have a set of core values and be able to define them. By hiring candidates that present aligned values and can provide examples of when they have demonstrated these, you remove discrimination.

This is because you are making a decision based on cultural fit, not education, qualifications, or even experience, and considering those who may not have had the same educational opportunities as others.

When using an agency, you will need to communicate these values in full, to ensure that they can apply them to the early stages of the recruitment process, shortlisting the right candidates.

Be consistent and use standardised questions

Consistency is a crucial factor when keeping the recruitment process fair.

One way you can demonstrate consistency is by asking standardised questions to each candidate that you interview, regardless of (perceived) age, gender, or race. By asking the same questions to candidates, you are providing them with an equal opportunity to demonstrate their ability, skills, values and characteristics.

It also means that you are not exhibiting any discrimination or bias, for instance, posing a question to a young female candidate about their plans for starting a family, yet not posing this to a male candidate of the same age.

Train hiring managers

To ensure the fairness of your recruitment process, provide training for those involved with training in employment law, unconscious bias, interview skills, diversity and equality opportunities.

Ask for feedback

The only way that you can understand candidate experience during the recruitment process is to ask interviewees.

By seeking feedback as part of your company hiring process, you can ask candidates how they felt at each stage. Did they think it offers a fair opportunity to each applicant and if any unfairness or discrimination was experienced or observed?

You can do this by setting up a survey to be completed and following up with a phone call or email afterwards to uncover more detail if necessary.

This feedback can be used to hone the process, as well as identify further training requirements for hiring managers.

We hope this article has proved you with practical guidance when it comes to removing bias and running a fair recruitment process. If you would like help from our experienced recruitment team or have any questions about identifying the right candidates in such a saturated market, we would be happy to help. Please contact a member of the Anne Corder team.


Alex Smith

Recruitment Specialist

I’ve worked in recruitment for the same agency for over 12 years, covering finance, office support, construction, and engineering. Temp and perm. Previously, my line of work was within banking and estate agency.
Favourite food: “Curry (Hot)”
Favourite film: “Heat”

Outside of work

“Gym 5 days a week. Home life consists mostly of entertaining a 3 year old! (for clarification – my son)”

Alex on ACR

“Very refreshing to work for a recruitment agency that genuinely care for their candidates and clients”

T: 01733 235298

Sarah-Jane Bond

Recruitment Specialist

I have spent the majority of my career working in Operational and Project Management roles. I first worked with ACR about 25 years ago as a candidate. ACR secured me a role at RNIB, where I stayed for 15 years, finishing as Head of Operations. Recruitment has always been a big part of the roles I have undertaken and is something that I really enjoy. When you match a fantastic candidate with the right client there is no better feeling!
Favourite food: “Has to be any dish from the Mediterranean”
Favourite film: “There are many, love a chick flick, especially ‘The Holiday at Christmas”

Outside of work

“I love socialising with friends, can always squeeze a bit of retail therapy in around volunteering at Deeping Rangers FC, running their hospitality on match days.”

Sarah-Jane on ACR

“I couldn’t have been more delighted when Nel asked me to join the company and have felt at home since day one. They really do care about providing the best service for their clients and candidates, building genuine relationships with both. The team culture is second to none, everyone supporting and looking out for each other. It is a pleasure to come to work every day.”

T: 01733 235298

Emily Roach

Recruitment Specialist

Emily was a Primary School Teacher for 10 years, before moving into the EdTech space, as a Relationship Specialist for MATs. She joined ACR in July 2023 and particularly thrives when recruiting for Account Management, Customer Service and Sales roles.
Favourite food:
“Spag bol or pizza”
Favourite film:
“The Notebook – or any romantic chick flick really!”
Outside of work
“I have a 1-year-old, so love fun family weekends with my fiancé and son more than anything. Time socialising with friends and family is where I’m happiest.”
Emily on ACR
“The unique culture, values, and style at ACR is polar opposite to other recruitment agencies and what I believed recruitment was. Having previously been a Relationship Specialist, I feel I’m doing the same thing! No hard sell, we truly care about our candidates and clients, and the team culture is 2nd to none!”
T: 01733 235298

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