TALiNT Partners Insights provides invaluable information that enables businesses to make informed, strategic decisions. Our curated insights are your tools for problem-solving, fostering growth, and achieving success within talent acquisition and staffing.

Holistic hiring

Holistic hiring

Table of Contents






In this interview, we spoke to Jo Major, a diversity and inclusion specialist, about workplace inequalities, hiring diverse talent, the potential use of AI in recruitment, and more. Jo also discusses being a judge in the TIARA Recruitment Awards and shares her thoughts on the trends and challenges that recruitment teams may face in 2023.

TI: We’re over the pandemic now, thankfully. However, COVID-19 shone on a light on workplace inequalities. Has the pandemic geared us up for meaningful, systematic change?

JM: Some businesses have evolved beyond recognition, and the changes they’ve made to how people work will work towards equality and equity – recognising it’s not an overnight job. However, I think some business leaders couldn’t shake off the power and control thing, obsessed with conformity and presenteeism; as soon as they got the chance, it was a case of ‘as you were’.

TI: Where/why are employers falling short in DE&I?

JM: DE&I isn’t seen as a critical business function, it tends to sit with HR and be seen as an HR problem to fix with zero or minimal budget and resources attached to it, including expertise. When DE&I folk are brought it, they are given little authority, have no seat at the top table and are not given the mandate to drive change. DEI isn’t an initiative, it’s a fundamental change in behaviour, ethics, systems and processes. One person alone cannot project manage this without resources, buy-in and council.

TI: DE&I focus tends to sit on hiring people of colour, where people with disabilities appear to be overlooked. How do recruiters bridge this gap?

JM: We stop hiring for the optics, it’s that simple. Recruiters, hiring managers and employers must understand intersectionality and stop viewing diversity as women or people of colour. The race to look for diverse profoundly damages candidates and promotes positive discrimination. Everyone is diverse, and diversity is the end goal; unfortunately for many, it is seen as the first step – a let’s hire ourselves out of our underrepresentation problem mentality. My advice to recruitment teams is simple: sort out how you hire, look at how much equity you provide to candidates, and make everything you do accessible and inclusive. If your EVP or your client’s EVP cannot clearly spotlight everything the business does to create a safe, fair and equal working environment that values everyone, more work must be done.

TI: AI could be a game changer where finding and hiring diverse talent is concerned. But does its use potentially become more exclusive than inclusive?

JM: There are two crucial sides to this. AI can be layered in bias; the algorithms used are often based on big data from those already overrepresented. There are various case studies where AI has excluded groups of people en masse, including people of colour, women and neurodivergent candidates. On the other side, AI can be used to reduce human bias, especially at the shortlisting stage; it can be used to create better job descriptions and adverts and remove candidate demographics. We’ve just got to be mindful that AI will and can learn human recruiter bias, and it certainly isn’t a silver bullet solution.

TI: You do a lot of work with internal recruitment teams on how to atiract underrepresented talent. What is your top tip on how to do so?

 JM: My number one tip is to understand, believe and respect the lived experience of the candidates you are marketing to.

“We stop hiring for the optics, it’s that simple.”

TI: You’re a judge at the TIARA Recruitment Awards. What does being involved with the global TIARA Awards programme mean to you?

JM: Honestly, I’ve always been sceptical of awards in the recruitment space. They’ve usually been owned by marketing with deep pockets, and the driver is the medal rather than the work it took to get there, if that makes sense. For me, the TIARAs are different. I see the verification process behind it and the genuine drive to seek out the best from the judges. Playing my part in the awards means that I directly get to acknowledge those genuinely doing the work and also get insight into the incredible work that is happening behind the scenes – that motivates me.

TI: What trends/solutions do you anticipate seeing in this year’s entries?

JM: I would like to see more focus on demonstrating the actions businesses take rather than statements of intent. Regarding the DE&I-related entries, I hope we’ll see a shift in focus to training and internal culture improvement work and client services. Maybe we will see a more substantial commitment to data transparency. Hopefully, we will see more businesses less focussed on just one or two identity markers and a more holistic approach to seeing diversity as an everyone topic.

 TI: Looking to the horizon, what do you foresee being a major challenge for recruitment teams in 2023?

JM: Recruitment teams are going to be increasingly held accountable for candidate diversity/demographic data, and those inexperienced in this type of data collection or without the right technology to support it are going to find this complex and challenging. We’ll see more focus on impactful EVPs and career pages, I feel.