Members of the TalentEdu team were fortunate enough to contribute to the research and publication of Advance HE’s Diversity Principles Framework for executive search firms and higher education providers working together for senior appointments. This framework forms the basis to our approach to working with our HE clients in promoting and delivering an equitable, diverse and inclusive recruitment process.

Promoting Diversity caret-down

Seek to promote diversity through our website, advertisements and in all promotional material.

Hold regular mandatory equality training for all staff and encourage sharing of ideas and best practice among colleagues.

Briefing caret-down

Look to challenge and advise our clients to have due regard to the diversity at all levels of the institution at the start of every search, considering the diversity composition of the current senior management team, department, faculty and institution.

Encourage search committees and hiring managers to focus on potential candidates’ skills and experiences, including transferable skills, rather than specific previous experience at that level to widen the pool of applicants.

Seek clarity on, and clearly define, the shared values and motivators our client expects from candidates.

Develop an open and candid partnership allowing for both parties to challenge the overall approach to diversity and consider diversity targets.

Advertising caret-down

Include contact details of the individual in charge of the search so potential candidates can enquire about the position.

Ensure that job descriptions and person specifications do not over-specify for particular skills unnecessarily.

Explicitly encourage applications from candidates from underrepresented groups.

Use inclusive language and diverse marketing and images in advertising and further particulars to convey a commitment to diversity and inclusion to prospective candidates.

Refer to independent organisations, such as Advance HE, for guidance on producing inclusive job descriptions, person specifications and adverts.

Longlist caret-down

Conduct a creative search which reaches a broad field of candidates, making use of networks and portals which promote diversity.

Use of transparent communication when contacting individuals about an opportunity.

Alongside our recommendations, for transparency all documentation is provided to the panel for all candidates who have applied to the vacancy.

Collection of applicants’ equality monitoring data.

All assessment of candidates is undertaken against the selection criteria, job specification and client briefing to ensure a fair and robust process.

Following delivery of longlist, a candid overview is provided about the successes and challenges in attracting candidates from a broad and diverse range of backgrounds during the search in order to learn from these in the future.

Shortlist caret-down

Equality trained consultants conduct interviews to assess applicants against the selection criteria with the purpose of the discussion made clear to candidates.

Clear and constructive feedback is provided when applicants are unsuccessful to support candidates to develop and learn from the interview and application experience.

Interviews caret-down

Provision of guidance to the interview panel to avoid unconscious bias and ‘groupthink’ during the panel interview and throughout the selection process.

Assistance in the development of interview questions that are guided by the selection criteria.

Candidate Support caret-down

Provision of guidance and mentorship to all candidates including CV presentation and development, writing of cover letters and interview techniques.

Full support throughout the application, interview, selection and appointment process.

Support for unsuccessful candidates to ensure the provision of constructive feedback and support with other opportunities in the higher education sector.

Onboarding caret-down

Support our clients in the development of a comprehensive and tailored training scheme and onboarding processes to support new employees, including additional support for those who are less familiar with the higher education sector.

Succession Planning caret-down

Support our clients in considering longer term horizons for all levels of recruitment, including developing a pipeline of talent and conducting a talent audit to identify and engage with potential future employees on an ongoing basis.

Pipeline caret-down

Nurture a pipeline of talent through developing initiatives including mentoring, events and networking opportunities.

Promote the higher education sector as an employee destination of choice for people of all backgrounds and circumstances.


Working to achieve improved equality, diversity and inclusivity in an organisation is a significant challenge and when it comes to recruitment requires an honest and collaborative approach between the higher education institution and recruiter.  It is essential though from both a moral perspective but also to drive forward the cultural and systemic changes needed if institutions are to remain competitive and attractive to talented staff and potential students in a global market. Speak to a member of our team to find out more about how TalentEdu can assist in shaping your recruitment to meet your diversity challenges.