Human bias has been around for eternity, but our awareness of it is relatively new. So now we need to ask how to eliminate unconscious bias in recruitment if we’re going to recruit candidates correctly.
Of course, we sometimes get a good feeling about a person and sometimes that feeling turns out to be right on the money. Still, if we’re bringing our bias into it and excluding other potentially brilliant people because of it, we’re discriminating without even realising.
What does bias in recruitment look like?
Let’s say a female manager believes that women are naturally better with people and would therefore be a more suitable fit for her HR vacancy. Despite interviewing several experienced and qualified men for the role who would be an asset to the team and company, she hires the female because of her ‘beliefs’, be they conscious or unconscious.
6 steps to take to avoid bias in recruitment:
- Understand what stereotyping is and how to avoid it.
- Place vacancy adverts in multiple locations to encourage a diverse range of applicants to apply.
- Implement anonymised hiring on the application process to remove identifiable information which could influence the recruiter.
- Refrain from looking at personal social media profiles
- Conduct the first interview by phone to eliminate appearance bias.
- Employ more than one recruiter to conduct the interviews and, where possible, use a panel to make the final hiring decision.
Below we provide a deeper understanding of how to eliminate bias in recruitment.
Thankfully, we now have intelligent recruitment software to help ensure the hiring process of candidates is done well. Using AI in recruiting can help companies ensure their hiring pool is as diverse as possible and enable them to bring on exceptional talent without human bias.
Educate all staff on unconscious bias, especially ones who are a part of the hiring process and champion equality and diversity throughout the organisation.
Understand what stereotyping is and how to avoid it
Stereotyping is another form of bias in recruitment, judging the person on their group associations rather than their individual character and personal beliefs. For example, the candidate could be judged on their gender, culture, sexual orientation, religion or physical attributes.
Assumptions often lead us down the wrong path. Therefore, it is wise to create a culture within your business that refrains from making assumptions about others and bringing this into the recruitment process.
The more informed everyone is, the better they can catch themselves doing it and amend that sometimes unconscious behaviour that only discriminates when used in this way.
When you employ a diverse workforce and provide diversity training, encouraging individualism and acceptance, your business reaps the rewards and get another step closer to eliminating harmful bias in the workplace.
Place vacancy adverts in multiple locations to encourage a diverse range of applicants to apply.
Placing a recruitment advert in multiple locations will help reach a broader and more diverse audience than only posting in a couple of places. Consider sites with a more diverse talent pool and ones that reach those underrepresented in the marketplace.
Recruitment job boards that are focused on minorities such as people with disabilities, LGBT, BME and other groups that find themselves underrepresented in the workplace should undoubtedly be brought into the mix.
Implement anonymised hiring on the application process to remove identifiable information which could influence the recruiter
A CV is undoubtedly the most effective way for a hiring manager to understand a candidate’s skills, experience, and qualifications. That said, a CV can also be the easiest way to form an unconscious bias. Anonymised applications, also known as blind applications, remove all identifiable information regarding gender, nationality, location, race and age.
Several prominent international businesses are now working with GapJumpers to eradicate the need for CV’s entirely and instead use bespoke tests to mimic the job the candidate would be doing. The company then reviews results, and interviews are arranged.
This way of hiring eliminates gender, educational, and race bias and ensures that the company is getting a candidate with the right skills and experience to do the job.
Refrain from looking at their personal social media profiles
Although it is now effortless to recruit via LinkedIn and look up suitable candidates on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, it’s also easy to garner more information than you need and make judgements based on their content!
If their public information is essential, then an online search platform such as Yoono.io may be of interest to give you peace of mind regards the candidate’s digital reputation and confirm they have a positive online presence. After all, their online reputation could impact yours and forearmed is forewarned!
Conduct the first interview by phone to eliminate appearance bias
It is challenging to accurately envisage a person’s physical appearance and garner their physical attributes simply by hearing their voice. This is why a singing competition called The Voice was invented. It requires the judge to use their listening skills without using visual cues that could create discriminatory thoughts.
Although accent and pronunciation could influence the recruiters’ opinion and certainly where class or gender is involved, the CV should have provided enough assurance to the recruiter that the person they are speaking to can perform the job and fit in well.
It is easy to imagine what someone looks or acts like in person after speaking with them. Still, that idea of someone very rarely matches the reality, which is why conducting preliminary interviews by phone is an excellent first step to finding your ideal hire and eliminate bias in recruitment.
Employ more than one recruiter to conduct the interviews and, where possible, use a panel to make the final hiring decision
When more than one person attends the primary interview, this dilutes the potential for unconscious bias. The team can use a collaborative approach to assess the candidates, allowing for more than one opinion and a more balanced approach to considering who is the right fit for the candidate job.
If choosing to use a broad range panel of people, they are diverse and could potentially represent the candidates. This helps eliminate the gut feeling of one person and forces discussion, which can help minimise the unconscious bias in recruitment if not entirely eliminate it.
Providing your employees and colleagues with the proper knowledge and procedures to follow can significantly reduce bias in the recruitment process and ensures that everyone respects and embraces diversity, providing a safe, inclusive, respectful and productive environment to work in for everyone.