Skip to content

Check your biases – Inclusive recruiting requires constant self-reflection

Outi Kankkunen and Jonna Lehtonen have a long work history in recruitment and in the technology industry. They share a passion for everything DEI (Diversity, Equity and Inclusion) related and pave the way for people of all ages, genders, and backgrounds to get into business technology.

Job seekers often might feel uneasy in an interview situation in which they need to excel in a narrow window of opportunity. But conducting the interview is not a mere walk in the park either. In a modern recruitment process, inclusion, diversity, and equity need to be carefully considered, and recruiters must keep their unconscious biases in check.

“Even though we certainly have met thousands of candidates, there are still some triggers and factors that lead to biased thinking,” says Outi Kankkunen, our Senior Talent Acquisition Partner.

“The sooner you become aware of the presumptions and prejudices, the easier it is to let go of them. That awareness is what we are trying to push and develop throughout the organisation.”

Kankkunen and her colleague Jonna Lehtonen, Talent Acquisition Advisor, both work in recruitment for our different locations. A substantial chunk of their time is dedicated to looking through applications, interviewing candidates or guiding them forward to the right person to be interviewed. Usually, their work with a candidate continues until the point when the contract is signed.

Besides the bread and butter of recruitment, Outi and Jonna also train their organisation, especially people who participate in recruiting and conduct interviews. They are currently preparing a new interview training that is even more extensive than the existing one.

Towards a more equal industry

Both Outi and Jonna have worked in the technology sector for a long time and regarding DEI, they have seen the development of the field. For example, women are becoming increasingly interested in technology, and today their interests and passions are more widely supported and encouraged than a decade ago.

At our various locations, there’s currently a good balance of different ages, genders, and backgrounds. In everyday work, DEI topics are brought up in the form of events and trainings, spreading awareness and developing DEI.

Our values (dare, care, grow) are also tightly linked to the recruitment process. Some questions and topics related to them are:

DARE – How boldly do the candidates bring new ideas to the table? How will they challenge stakeholders to do things differently?

CARE – Do the candidates like teamwork or prefer to work independently? How would they look after the well-being of their colleagues and teammates?

GROW – How eager are the candidates to grow and develop their skills? How would they contribute in building long-term partnerships of mutual trust?

How to make magic happen in recruitment?

Our HR team strives to ensure that all the job applicants are evaluated equally. Age, gender, and birthplace are not of importance, but the candidates’ skillset and knowledge are. HR professionals and everyone involved in recruitment should practice self-reflection regularly and try to catch their subconscious biases. A recruiter must be aware of both their negative and positive biases. 

Both Outi and Jonna emphasize the importance of questioning and taking a wider perspective.

“You start to see a candidate in a certain light, if they have qualities that are personally important to you. But you need to see through and beyond your own preferences and see people objectively as a whole,” Outi summarises.

A quick fix: 3 insights for adding DEI focus in recruitment

  1. Be aware of your biases and always root for diversity, equity, and inclusion.
  2. Rethink the job requirements in order to not exclude any groups of individuals and to support equal opportunities for all genders, ethnicities, religions etc.
  3. Train your organisation to ensure a smooth candidate experience.
Outi Kankkunen
Jonna Lehtonen