What is Recruit Smarter?


Report of Findings

Report of findings

What's the issue?

Victoria is growing and becoming more diverse.
Jobseekers from diverse backgrounds face barriers in finding work.
Research from all over the world tells us that diversity is good for the workforce, the economy, and the community.
Culturally diverse teams are more creative and solve complex tasks more efficiently than culturally homogenous teams.
Recruit Smarter was run over 2 years around 3 priorities: trialling new approaches, designing best practice and sharing knowledge.

What is Recruit Smarter?

Recruit Smarter is a multi-sector strategic initiative of the Victorian Government to develop inclusive recruitment practices and address unconscious bias in recruitment.

Recruit Smarter researchers and partners designed a program of work centred on three strategic priorities:

  1. Pilot interventions – real-world trials of innovative approaches to addressing unconscious bias
  2. Development of best practice - envisioning and developing best practice for equitable and inclusive recruitment
  3. Knowledge Sharing Seminars – sharing knowledge and lessons learned and raising awareness of the importance and value of workforce diversity and inclusion

Report of findings Report of findings PDF (9.06 MB)

Department of Premier and Cabinet Victoria & The Centre for Ethical Leadership, University of Melbourne

Technical Report

Technical Report

Recruit Smarter trialled four pilot interventions across a range of government departments and private sector organisations. The four interventions included two trials of targeted recruitment via modified language use in job advertisements, a CV de-identification program, and the provision of training to address unconscious bias. The pilot program has found evidence that these interventions are beneficial to improving equity of opportunity for diverse Victorian applicants.

Technical Report Technical Report PDF (2.37 MB)

Prepared by: The Centre for Ethical Leadership, Ormond College, The University of Melbourne


Recruit Smarter - A better way to do business

Recruit Smarter is a Victorian Government initiative to target unconscious bias in recruitment processes.

The initiative brings together organisations across the public, private, non-government and research sectors in an Australian-first, multi-sector cooperative effort to find ways to address this issue.

What is unconscious bias?

Unconscious bias occurs when unintentional assumptions are made about job applicants based on features such as their age, gender, culture, religion or other background.

Bias is often founded on pre-existing social stereotypes and mindsets, and can lead to a disregard of an individual’s unique set of skills. Unconscious judgements, decisions and assessments, whether biased or not, are the product of knowledge developed through socialisation, education, and life experiences, filtered through religion, gender, sexuality, age or ability.

What are the effects of unconscious bias?

Unconscious bias can have a broad reaching influence on hiring practices, placing some applicants at a disadvantage to others. 

Experiencing bias

Recent research conducted by management consulting firm McKinsey & Company indicates that organisations in the top quartile for racial and ethnic diversity are 35% more likely to have financial returns above their national industry medians. Other research has shown that teams with a wide spread of diversity outperform more homogeneous teams. The stories below highlight the experiences of Victorians who have encountered unconscious bias in the workplace.

Partner Participation

The Government is committed to working with the Victorian private sector to develop and maintain best practice in recruitment processes that address issues such as unconscious bias and better support and promote the State's diversity.

Partner logos

Contact us

Contact the Business Victoria Contact Centre 13 22 15.


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