How To Reduce Bias in Hiring Process

By Predictive Success  |  

5 min read

Companies want to find people from all walks of life to include on their team so that they can get new and different perspectives. Removing bias from recruitment processes seems like the obvious solution, but it can be easier said than done.

Each individual is unique and has something special to offer, but sometimes our own personal prejudices get in the way of seeing that. Knowing where and how to reduce bias in the hiring process can improve an organization’s chances of finding the perfect candidate that will bring new ideas to the team.

There are many systems and tools that exist that help recruiters to reduce unconscious bias when hiring. Since companies are striving to diversify their teams, technology is available to assist in achieving that goal with each step of the hiring process. Let’s take a look at some of the innovations that have allowed businesses to be successful in recruiting a more diverse team.

How Can Businesses Reduce Bias in the Hiring Process?

While there is no one solution for tackling unconscious bias in hiring practices, there are steps that can be taken and tools that can help.  Whether it is our own blinders that get in our way or those that we are unaware of that have an impact on finding the ideal candidates, businesses can make improvements that can lead them to success.

1. Let Data Drive You

For businesses trying to avoid unconscious bias in hiring, there are applications that can be used that are designed to select candidates based on required skills, potential growth within the organization, and who fits best with the role.

The big data that can be harvested by analytical programs will help find talented candidates that fit into the diversity criteria that you are looking to fill. You can adjust it to emphasize certain qualities or to move groups that are more underrepresented to the top of the list.

Relying on the data that these tools give you can help your business hire people that makes the most sense for the long-term needs. By doing this, companies can avoid repeat mistakes from hiring managers who may lean into their unconscious bias in interviewing and hiring.

2. Eliminate Gendered Language

Something that few of us consider is how our words can encourage gender bias without being aware of it. The way a job posting is written can impact the type of people who apply to the job, so it is important to be privy to the use of language used when expressing.

A recent study study found that using more feminine language in job postings can increase the chances of more women applying for the job. Postings that attracted women used words like “team player”, “sensitive”, “warm”, and would play “support” roles. The same bias is used when targeting male candidates by using terms like “strong”, “competitive”, and “control”.

One way that employers are tackling unconscious bias in the hiring process is by installing software that monitors job posts to ensure that any gendered language is removed. This will ensure that applicants of all kinds will be likely to apply, making your team more diverse.

3. Blind Application Screening

If you are worried about unconscious bias when hiring new team members, you may want to include blind screening. Blind hiring means that each applicant’s resume has been filtered through, whether manually or by using a software, that removes any gendered language, their name, age, education level, cultural background, and anything else that could lead to bias.

This practice has been used by human resource teams for decades since doing this leaves the hiring team only the vital information for each candidate to base their hiring decisions on. Additionally, companies can include screening questions for applicants to answer which can be used to make final hiring decisions, instead of relying solely on a resume.

4. Develop a Structured Interview Process

When a company is hiring, they will have to consider what the interview process will be like once that time comes. Ensuring unconscious bias in interviewing does not happen, making a clear and detailed plan so that everyone is held to the same standards and requirements.

Taking the time to create a plan that covers the questions you want to ask each candidate, what benchmarks need to be met, and who on your team is going to be present for the interview will reduce chances of bias. Stick with your plan when interviewing and avoid going off topic so that no unfair advantages are given to any applicant.

5. Remove Unconscious Bias Every Day

Now that you know how to reduce bias in the hiring process, those negative prejudices can creep back up when onboarding and training new team members. It is important to remember that keeping bias out of the workplace takes practice every day. The more you practice removing bias out of daily tasks and activities, the easier it will become in the future.

Review how your hiring team takes steps to avoid bias with each step of the hiring process including:

  • How job descriptions are worded
  • Where the job posting is advertised
  • What type of screening questions are asked
  • How resumes are screened
  • How candidates are selected for interviews
  • How the interview process works
  • How employees are onboarded
  • How new employees are included in workplace culture

Ensuring that unconscious bias is eliminated in all recruitment processes can help your business gain a positive reputation as a welcome and diverse atmosphere. By not relying on preconceived ideas about what factors make up a quality employee, leaders can find success by having a more inclusive team that has unique members with fresh ideas.

Strengthen Your Team Today

Now that we have covered the basics for reducing unconscious bias in the recruitment process, you can implement these tips in your organization. Ensure that all team members are aware and are ready to make appropriate changes to improve diversity. Remember, it is not an instant fix, but something that requires ongoing effort daily.

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