Psychological Safety while hiring

December 1, 2023

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Enhancing psychological safety during the recruitment and selection process is crucial in fostering a positive and productive work culture. When candidates feel secure in sharing their thoughts and ideas without fear of judgment or backlash, they are more likely to engage in honest and open communication, which can lead to better decision-making and improved performance. As such, employers should also strive to be mindful of any potential biases and work to ensure fairness and equity throughout the recruitment process.

So, what are the cues that both employers and candidates should be aware of in order to ensure a psychologically safe recruitment and selection process?

1.      Inclusive Language

The first sign of a psychologically safe workplace is the use of inclusive language in their job posting. The more inclusive a job advertisement is, the more likely it will attract candidates from diverse backgrounds. Some general rules for inclusive language include:

●       Avoid language that mentions age such as ‘young’ or ‘energetic’.

●      Avoid the use of specific pronouns, like he/her. Try to say things like ‘The ideal candidate will…’ or ‘The applicant will…’

●       Include a note that mentions that you can reasonably accommodate differently-abled people with any necessary support to complete their tasks.

●       Avoid any mention of race, ethnicity, nationality, or other discriminatory terms.


2.     Clarity versus Ambiguity

Lack of transparency creates lack of trust.

Candidates nowadays are looking for clear answers to their inquiries in order to make an informed decision about whether to join a certain company or not. When an employer is open and honest about the company, its values, and the expectations for the role, it can help to build a foundation of mutual respect and understanding.


3.     Alignment of Needs and Requirements

Interviews provide a great opportunity to put everything on the table and discuss what the employee requires versus what the company is looking for.

For that reason, some important topics to be clearly and openly discussed include:

●       The level of flexibility in the work schedule

●       Whether work from home is applicable and allowed

●       The compensation and benefits package in details

●       Geographic location and percentage of travel required

●       Amount of teamwork versus solitary work

●       Job duties and responsibilities and critical tasks

These topics will reveal how psychologically safe an organization is and how much they are willing to meet employee preferences and requirements.


4.     Talk abundantly about Culture

Some culture-related questions that can be tackled during the interview include:

●      How does the organization provide positive support to make sure that employees have the time and space to fail with perseverant attempts to reach success?

●       Why do people stay at this company?

●       How does the company allow for moderate risk-taking?

●       Are employees’ innovative and helpful ideas taken into consideration and implemented?

●       How is feedback shared and what type of development programs are available?

●       What type of management is prevalent? Who are the main decision makers?


5.     Realistic job Previews

Realistic job previews are important because they provide candidates with an accurate and nuanced understanding of what it is like to work at a company and in a particular role. This can help to reduce misunderstandings and misalignment between the expectations of the employer and the candidate.

Realistic job previews can signify that during the interview, the employer:

●       Provides a comprehensive overview of the job duties

●       Discusses the company’s strategy and the role that the candidate will play in executing it

●       Discusses the company’s culture and values, including the importance of teamwork and collaboration

●        Provides information about the team structure and the candidate’s potential colleagues

●       Mentions some of the challenges that the candidate might face, such as tight deadlines and the need to be flexible in response to changing business needs



Psychological safety is a crucial factor in the employee experience from recruitment until the time of departure from a company. As such, companies should understand the characteristics of psychological safety and integrate it into all its people’s practices, beginning with attracting the right talents.

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