Ensuring an inclusive recruitment process for LGBT+ candidates

Follow the Law

  • Be cognizant of and comply with UK law prohibiting discrimination against candidates based on sexual orientation during the recruiting, interviewing, and/or hiring process.
  • Ensure that diversity / non-discrimination statements on job descriptions and adverts explicitly list “sexual orientation and gender identity or gender expression” as protected characteristics.


Avoid Heterosexism

  • Do not presume all candidates are heterosexual. Be conscious of terms that assume heterosexuality (i.e. use “partner” or “significant other” instead of “spouse,” remembering that it is illegal to ask any candidate whether they are married).
  • Be cognizant of “social conversation” when escorting a candidate from one interview session to the next and/or during meals; candidates are always interviewing whether or not it is a formal interview session.


Represent a positive climate in marketing materials

  • Any printed document or online material discussing diversity should contain a reference to the positive climate for LGBT+ persons to the same extent that any other type of diversity is referenced.
  • If the organisation’s workforce is depicted visually, it should include a pictorial representation indicating a positive climate for LGBT+ employees.
    • Include photos or illustrations of common LGBT+ symbols (eg a rainbow flag, an upside-down pink triangle, the double female and/or double male signs.)
    • Include photos from the organisation’s LGBT+ networks
    • Include photos of same-sex couples.


Describe Benefits Inclusively

  • Reference general employment benefits (including day care, insurance, etc.) to all applicants regardless of knowledge of candidates’ sexual orientation, clarifying limits where relevant.
  • Eg: highlight limitations of domestic partner benefits (if applicable), with


Provide Information Packets

  • When sending information packets to candidates, include materials pertaining to the organisations’s LGBT+ culture/climate, in addition to that of other minority groups (e.g. disabled persons, women, and ethnic minorities).
  • Candidates should also be made aware of the range and variety of LGBT related networks and groups within the organisation.
  • Include a link either to the Diversity section of your website or the homepage for the LGBT+ network / intranet site.


Proactively Offer Contacts

  • Provide an opportunity for self-identified LGBT+ candidates (and/or LGBT+ allies) to meet with employees of the LGBT+ community, if the candidate so chooses.
  • Highlight your Safe Space Program. The Safe Space program allows employees to identify themselves as an LGBT+ Ally by sending a visible message by the stickers and covers on their computers or work stations.


Design Inclusive Orientations

  • All recruitment and onboarding sessions should include clear references to the LGBT+ community and provide referral information for LGBT+ resources.
  • Publicise policies which protect LGBT+ individuals, highlighting zero-tolerance on homophobic, biphobic and transphobic discrimination and harassment, with clear sanctions for staff and customers who are in violation of such policies.
  • Supply candidates with dress codes which avoid gender stereotypes and apply consistently to all employees prior to on-boarding.


Further Resources:

Acas (the Advisory Conciliation and Advice Service) have a national helpline: 0300 123 1100 (textphone users: 18001 0300 123 1100). They have produced guidance on the regulations with examples of good practice for employers to follow www.acas.org.uk

The Gender Trust have a national helpline: 0845 231 0505. There are also regional support details on their website: www.gendertrust.org.uk 

The Gender Identity Research and Education Society (GIRES) provide information, guidance, advice and training: www.gires.org.uk 

GIRES have also produced a useful policy guide for employers: www.gires.org.uk/transgender-policy-guide-for-employers-2015/

The Equality and Human Rights Commission has produced a statutory code of practice on the Equality Act: www.equalityhumanrights.com/en/advice-and-guidance/sexual-orientation-discrimination


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