Eliminating Bias in Recruiting

Eliminating Bias in Recruiting

If it is your organization’s goal to hire the best and most capable candidates for your open job positions, then you must prioritize diversity. Prioritizing diversity means understanding how beneficial it is to have people that work for you that are different from each other. These differences account for an ability to produce new ideas that can make a dynamic impact in your organization. Creating diversity within an organization can often be a challenge for companies. This is why it is imperative to eliminate bias in your recruiting activities.

Understanding Implicit Bias

A lack of diversity in recruiting is usually due to a type of bias called implicit or unconscious bias. This refers to attitudes and beliefs that occur outside of our conscious awareness and control. The type of thinking that is responsible for implicit bias is quick, instinctive, automatic, emotional, unconscious, and requires little to no effort. With implicit bias at work, a person does not have to have a conscious dislike of other cultural groups to be biased towards them. In the workplace, implicit bias can cause us to judge others based on our own personal experiences rather than their talent or their ability to benefit our organization. This can unfortunately lead to discrimination against people because of their age, disability, gender, sex, sexual orientation, pregnancy, religion, or race. To eliminate bias, it’s important to start with your recruiting process. 

Eliminate Bias Starting with Your Hiring Team

Have your hiring team reflect diversity and multiculturalism.  Having a diverse team is a great way to eliminate bias by allowing multiple cultural perspectives to have an impact on the hiring process.  Have this same group work as an interviewing panel.  This allows for a more diverse range of questions, viewpoints, and interview styles to influence hiring.  It is also a good idea for organizations to provide unconscious bias training for your hiring team.  This type of training teaches trainees how stereotyping works, and it highlights how bias is a universal idea that affects everyone.  It has the ability to increase awareness of where everyone’s potential biases may lie.  This can help team members to exercise better, and more self-aware judgment when conducting hiring activities. 

Bias Proof Your Hiring Process

One of the biggest areas for bias to have a potentially negative impact on organizations is in the hiring process.  During the hiring process, your recruiting team has access to many different pieces of personal information that could be used against candidates.  During the application process, recruiters can judge others based on their name, gender, address, and educational background. It can become very easy for recruiters to favor candidates who went to a college they’re familiar with, or who live in a neighborhood they know of.  They can make assumptions about gender or ethnicity by seeing a candidate’s name.  One way to eliminate this is by using resume or application screening software designed to select great hires based on factors most important to your company.  Candidates evaluated through this process can then be invited to the interview process.  Have interviewers focus on how well a candidate could meet the needs of the organization, and whether the person would be a culture add.  Many recruiters look for people who will be a culture fit.  This won’t eliminate bias if the majority of the staff already share the same cultural background and experiences.  Lastly, use personality tests, and skills tests to examine potential hires.  This allows recruiting teams to have data to analyze, instead of how they personally felt about a candidate. 

Eliminating bias in recruiting takes a strategic approach.  Prioritizing diversity and finding ways to bias-proof your hiring process can be a task that takes people outside of their comfort zones.  Still, the positive results, which include increased employee retention, and decreased costs of hiring, are well worth the extra effort.