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LIBRA Recruitment Handbook - Guidelines for inclusive, transparent and unbiased recruitment processes

Corrales, Carolina; Herzig, Michaela; Meixner, Binia

Diversity is a key feature of a modern and successful workplace. It allows access to a larger talent pool, increases
the number of viewpoints and experiences in a team, which results in improved productivity and the personal
growth of all team members. To increase workplace diversity, it is important to assess and restructure
recruitment processes to ensure objectivity and inclusiveness.
Employers play a central role in any discussion on inequalities, discrimination or gender gaps. “They and their
agents have the power to influence, if not determine, the shape and degree of inequalities in their organisations
(1).” It is the responsibility of an employer to inform themselves, to raise awareness amongst employees and
individuals involved in recruitment processes, and to actively follow strategies to mitigate any imbalances, even
if caused unconsciously. Such bias can mean one is failing to hire the best person for the job and potentially
missing out on valuable talent.
This handbook was created to inform institutes participating in the LIBRA project and to support them in hiring
the most suitable candidate, and increasing workplace diversity, which provides the basis for creativity and
ultimately success. LIBRA is a project funded by the European Commission, which brings together 13 research
institutes in life sciences in 13 European countries. They are all members of the alliance EU-LIFE, which aims to
build and promote excellence in life sciences throughout Europe. Their commitment to excellence is also a
commitment to gender equality.
The ten core LIBRA institutes developed a tailored Gender Equality Plan, which aims to bring about long lasting
and profound structural changes to remove institutional barriers and empower women to be equally successful
as men in their research careers. The Gender Equality Plans address four main areas of intervention, which aim
to increase the number of women in senior academic positions. One of the four areas is to revise and improve
recruitment policies and procedures.
One of the biggest challenges in recruitment is to overcome unconscious biases and to structure the individual
processes. In order to do so, this handbook compiles a series of recommendations for a more fair, objective, and
transparent recruitment process for senior leadership positions in science research institutes. These
recommendations can also be applied more broadly to include the recruitment of PhD students, postdocs and
technical staff.

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