How can an organization ensure that there is no bias involved when it comes to recruitment decisions? Extensive research is a testament to discriminatory and unconscious bias being prevalent in the hiring process.
Unconscious bias spurs us to make judgments in the best interests of one individual or group at the loss of others. It is generally not noticeable since the individual exhibiting the bias is often unaware of the discrimination.
On the other hand, conscious bias refers to willful biases that harm another individual or group of people. Whether the bias is conscious or unconscious, it may have a detrimental effect on our workplace environments.
Many organizations have been striving to eliminate bias from their recruiting processes. Do they, however, truly succeed? And what does it take to eliminate discrimination?
Reducing Bias in the Hiring Process
Identifying biases is the first step. Here’s how organizations can do it.
Awareness is the key
The first essential step to encourage a fair hiring process is to educate the workforce on the prevalence of unconscious biases, including affinity bias, racial discrimination, etc. One method to raise awareness is to educate and teach your employees on the subject. It will help them in identifying and understanding unconscious biases.
Furthermore, the employees should take exams like the Harvard Implicit Association Test. This exam can teach the entire team about unconscious biases and how they shape their personal and professional perspectives.
Accountability is imperative
You have educated your employees on how to identify workplace prejudice. You must now hold each employee accountable, particularly human resource specialists who train the whole team.
To elaborate, assume a manager conducts ten performance evaluations, five each for males and females. If four of the top five performers are women, there should be an investigation into whether there is a bias favoring women in the process.
Rework your job descriptions
According to a study, the wording used in a job description is critical. Inappropriate (biased) language of job descriptions may discourage people from applying for the job instead of enticing them.
To resolve this, the organizations should consider removing gender, age, and other limiting terms from the job advertisement to avoid prejudice. Hence, the job title and description should be as inclusive as possible.
Skill tests can be helpful
Sample tests are one of the most accurate indicators of a candidate’s future success. Tests allow an organization to compare the available candidates based on their work rather than just their CVs.
For example, a skill test will require the organization to examine a candidate’s work performance rather than their appearance, gender, age, or personality.
Define diversity and set objectives
Set business objectives so that everyone understands the importance of eliminating unconscious bias and increasing diversity to the bottom line. After that, explain what diversity entails in your organization. For example, what races, age groups, genders, and sexual orientations are underrepresented?
You must set goals for each stage of your candidate process, such as application funnels, interview conversion rates, and acceptances. Most importantly, communicate your accomplishments.
Use a structured interview
Unstructured interviews do not identify issues for a particular job function. According to research, such interviews often make recruiting decisions subject to unconscious preconceptions and prejudices. Structured interviews, on the contrary, are beneficial if you desire an impartial, non-biased recruiting procedure.
When conducting structured interviews, the recruitment manager asks the same or comparable questions to all prospects in the same or similar order. This approach eliminates the need for small talk or subjectivity, allowing them to compare applications based on objective criteria.
Constitute a multi-functional interview team
A cross-functional interview team is an excellent method to eliminate prejudice in the hiring process. Another excellent practice is guiding the interview team on what to look for and avoid, including any biases.
Establishing a strategy to discuss the candidate in a coordinated debrief meeting is an excellent practice so that the other interviewers may verify any biases.
Do not fall for likability every time
It is critical to evaluate the candidate to overcome the human bias inherent in likability. Structured interviews and a diverse recruiting panel reduce the possibility of hiring based on a likability bias.
Further, combine the interview with a skills test or a real-life problem-solving task to offer each candidate the greatest chance of showcasing their specific talents.
Look for diversity and inclusion goals
There are several reasons why organizations should focus on establishing diverse workplaces, ranging from more creativity to more skilled employees to better retention rates. Establish diversity and inclusion goals to ensure that you are making progress towards having a diverse workforce.
It is noteworthy to mention that a study shows how workforce diversity results in significant commercial advantages. To gauge this, after completing the recruiting process, executives should measure how well they have done in relation to the diversity targets they planned to achieve.
Build a foundation of trust
You must establish trust, commitment, responsibility, and cooperation to support an organization’s diversity, equality, and inclusion plan. Offering productive conflict resolution workshops to help people learn how to interact more effectively fosters unity that aligns with:
- the organization’s mission and vision
- provides numerous opportunities for professional advancement
- improves organizational culture and vitality
This article hopefully educates you about how to overcome unconscious bias. Begin by defining rigorous, full-fledged criteria and results expected in the job description.
Also, work closely with your hiring team to ensure they are informed on typical biases and know how to cope with them. Finally, implement the ideas gradually and win the battle over unconscious bias.