Thomas International has worked alongside global recruitment consultancy Harvey Nash to demonstrate that the use of psychometric assessments can remove unconscious bias from the recruitment process, eliminating any risk of adverse impact.

With diversity, equality and inclusion increasingly becoming key tools for business success, Harvey Nash invited Thomas to devise an independent audit to verify that none of its candidates would be exposed to discrimination of any kind.

Over twelve months, the audit followed the progress of 330 of Harvey Nash’s candidates through the recruitment cycle.  At the outset, all participating candidates undertook Thomas’s Personal Profile Analysis (PPA) psychometric assessment which provides insight into a person’s strengths, limitations, communication style, motivators and potential value to a business.  The PPA results enabled Harvey Nash’s recruiters to objectively assess the candidates during their interviews rather than basing decisions on their subjective instincts, where unconscious bias can creep in.

Alongside the PPA, candidates also undertook Harvey Nash’s own diversity questionnaire and statistical analysis was used to identify any significant practical demographic differences that could impact the outcome of the audit.

The results of the audit revealed that no adverse impact exists in Harvey Nash’s recruitment cycle.  In fact, the findings were so positive that Harvey Nash used them to support its successful application for EY’s National Equality Standard, making it the first recruitment firm to be certified by one of the UK’s most rigorous and prestigious accreditations for diversity and inclusion.

Larry Ridges, Head of Talent of Harvey Nash Plc commented: “We engaged with Thomas for this project so that we could look at ourselves and see what we could learn from, and improve on, in terms of our recruitment process. At Harvey Nash, we pride ourselves on our ability to provide a diverse candidate pool from which to hire and an inclusive environment in which our teams can excel. The importance of working with Thomas was crucial so that we could highlight that all candidates who engage with us do so on a level playing field and can bring their strengths to the table when applying for a role with us.”

Ciaran Morton, Managing Director of Thomas International, commented: “Against an increasingly litigious backdrop, it is becoming vital for businesses to show the steps they are taking to avoid adverse impact and this project demonstrates how achievable this is.  By introducing rigour and independence to the recruitment process through the use of objective assessments, businesses can more accurately match the best candidates with the roles they need to fill.  In turn, they will build a more diverse workplace where employees feel respected and engaged, and when people are more engaged, they are more productive – which is what all businesses ultimately want.”

Following the audit, Harvey Nash has developed a strategy that will ensure it continues to remove any adverse impact from its processes by continuing to monitor and track the demographics of its candidates.  The project has also enabled the company to look at ways of streamlining its recruitment process, saving both time and money on an ongoing basis.





Rebecca joined the HRreview editorial team in January 2016. After graduating from the University of Sheffield Hallam in 2013 with a BA in English Literature, Rebecca has spent five years working in print and online journalism in Manchester and London. In the past she has been part of the editorial teams at Sleeper and Dezeen and has founded her own arts collective.