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Do you need to start asking about the environment in job interviews?

Clothing brand Banana Moon has started testing candidates’ ecological awareness at interview in the hope that it will help encourage grass-roots efforts and an open culture of change.

By demonstrating to candidates that it is serious about its environmental impact, new employees at the company will hopefully be more inclined to speak up, said managing director Alex Grace.

Speaking to HR magazine, he said: “Inspiring sustainable practice can’t just come from the top, it must be a collaboration.

“As with any significant change to practice, it’s essential to gain the buy-in and support of anyone affected by that change. 

“Consulting and collaborating with our eco-minded recruits not only helps broaden our vision for what is possible, but also ensures we end up with real ambassadors for change.”

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Tom Lakin, director of innovation at recruitment outsourcing company Resource Solutions, told HR magazine that asking targeted questions about the environment can be a useful way to find, and compete for, highly motivated talent.

He added: “Questioning candidates around environmental topics can prove very useful. For example, asking candidates about ‘greenwashing’ provides insights into a candidate’s attitudes to ethics, responsibility and risk.”

According to 2021 research by professional services network EY, over a fifth (22%) of people from Generation Z believe the meaning of their work is the most important factor when choosing where to work.

Lakin added: “We’re seeing organisations with strong environmental and social impact credentials using this as part of their employer branding, and leveraging this throughout the interview process.

“More than ever, interviews are two-way, and candidates are assessing employers throughout the interview process, as much as employers are assessing candidates.”

Lakin warned employers to think carefully about the questions they ask, however.

“It’s important organisations remember that the benefits of diversity are unlocked only with diversity of thought.

“They must therefore be careful not to only hire talent who think like they do, or ask leading questions that [influence] answers to meet their expectations.”