Anti-bias Hiring Practices for Indigenous Peoples and Recruitment Strategies

Recruitment strategies for hiring Indigenous lawyers and legal professionals is not about checking off a diversity and inclusion box for your firm but should be about expanding how job postings and opportunities are shared in general – expanding your firm’s regular hiring practices. Here are some tips to help shape your hiring practices.

Target recruitment

  • Post on Indigenous media such as NationTalk and Indigenous Bar Association.
  • Go to local Indigenous communities and Indigenous leaders and ask for advice on potential recruits. Note that you should not expect them to offer this information for free; respect their time and knowledge and discuss payment for their advice and insight.
  • Attend and sponsor Indigenous sector-specific events relevant to your business lines to build visibility and meet potential hires.
  • Consider including information on your website regarding bias-free recruitment practices – for example, McCarthy Tétrault.

Cultural Competence Lens on the Hiring Processes

  • Ensure processes and questions do not have barriers for Indigenous employees and consider retaining Indigenous expert advisors to do a review for the organization. (CHRC Aboriginal Employment Preference Policy)
  • Ensure human resources employees are culturally competent and want to champion the process in the best possible way.

  • Retain Indigenous expert advisors on how to address questions about Indigenous self-identity ahead of time, as this is sometimes complicated. (IBA Guide for Lawyers Working with Indigenous Peoples)
  • Start adapting human resource policies (i.e. Indigenous ceremony days have the same prominence as any other cultural day off), so Indigenous employees do not face unique barriers.
  • Consider how to retain and support Indigenous employees – there may be differences in learning needs or supports to ensure success.
  • Ensure that racism is considered a serious infraction like harassment, is noted in anti-racism disciplinary policies, and is acted on when necessary.
  • Provide cultural competence continuing education to all employees, including leaders in the organization, to reduce the risk of Indigenous employees facing unconscious bias.

Internal Communications

  • Master the art of doing land acknowledgements that matter.
  • Celebrate the contributions of Indigenous employees.