We all want to be fair to candidates when we’re hiring.
Yet our minds are complex. We see things differently than others, we have different thoughts, we could each have the same thing happen to us but feel far differently about it.
Which can inadvertently influence our decisions. Which, when choosing among candidates can lead to a lack of diversity and equitable opportunities in workplace. Recognizing and then mitigating our hidden biases is absolutely essential for hiring managers and recruiters in order to create an inclusive and fair hiring process.
Hidden biases are automatic and ingrained.
They influence our decisions without our ever being aware them. They often are based on factors such as ethnicity, age, gender, socioeconomic background, and so on.
Yet when it comes to choosing among candidates they can play a significant part in every step along the way, from resume screening on up to choosing a final candidate.
Unknown biases can have major consequences.
They can continue systemic inequality, thus hindering workplace diversity. They can lead to hiring managers excluding qualified candidates, limiting an organization’s potential for growth and innovation.
Some strategies for mitigating hidden biases:
- Acknowledge their existence. Train hiring managers, recruiters, department heads, members of the C-suite, etc. about the concept of unconscious bias. Educate anyone in hiring process of their potential implications. Workshops/seminars that focus on identifying one’s biases, while providing tips on how to reduce them can help create self-awareness and encourage introspection.
- Create objective and clear candidate evaluation criteria. Doing so will minimize how much biases influence decisions. A checklist of a job’s required skills and qualifications can go a long way to making sure that all candidates are evaluated with the same criteria.
- Develop “blind” application and resume screening processes. Keeping personal information such as names, age, gender, address, etc. from the initial screening (resumes, for example) will help hiring managers, recruiters and others focus on an applicant’s qualifications, not their demographics.
- Put together interview panels that are diverse when it comes to age, ethnicity, gender, and background. Such diversity can help created a panel focused on hearing every member’s perspective on candidates. More importantly, panels can help prevent one particular bias from “erasing” all others.
- Develop a list of standard questions that ascertain candidates’ qualifications and skills relevant to the job at hand. Doing so will minimize the chance of subjective judgements, resulting in a more objective evaluation.
- Encourage screeners, recruiters and hiring managers to think about their decisions and potential biases. Holding feedback sessions will help discover bias patterns and provide the opportunity for improvement.
- Build data into the hiring process in order to monitor and study their impact on your hiring results. Make sure to take a look at your recruiting metrics in order to identify any disparities in which candidates were chosen, allowing you to make changes as needed.
- Establish a culture of continuous learning/training. In fact, it’s wise to require that employees undergo continuous education in un-biased hiring best practices.
As much as we wish one could “erase” all unconscious bias, we know it’s something that will be all with all of us forever. But that doesn’t mean “giving up” and continuing to recruit and hire “the way we’ve always done it.”
Debbie’s Staffing can help you lessen the hidden biases your recruiters and hiring managers have by helping you with preliminary candidate screening and evaluation.