Diversity is a major core value for many organizations, but subconscious bias in making hiring decisions may be hindering that goal. Common examples of hiring bias include: being drawn to candidates for their personal likeability or connecting more with candidates who have a shared background. Avoid hiring bias with these five crucial tips:
1. Raise Your Awareness
Knowledge is power. Before you can take practical steps to avoid hiring bias, you must first fully understand it. Raise your awareness of the topic by participating in training. This will teach you the fundamentals of how/why bias occurs, how to recognize it, and what solutions need to be implemented to combat it on a larger scale.
2. Evaluate Job Descriptions
Often hiring bias can come into play long before you even come into contact with candidates in the form of the job description. In particular, gender bias can become an issue through the type of language used in the job description and may result in one gender being more likely to think they meet the qualifications than the other. Avoid any words/phrases that align with gender stereotypes, such as “competitive” (often associated as a masculine trait) or “collaborative” (often associated as a feminine trait). If you’re unsure, there are tools that will specifically scan your job posting for common examples of gendered language based on research findings.
3. Make Initial Review as Blind as Possible
To significantly reduce the possibility of bias in your hiring process, limit the use of candidates’ identifying information. Have the names removed from applications before you review them. Focus on evaluating candidates solely on their qualifications for the job by including skills tests as part of the initial review.
4. Establish Set Standards for Evaluation Criteria
The phase of the hiring process in which you will know candidates’ identifying information is a critical time in which bias can rear its ugly head. To protect against this, establish set standards for evaluation criteria, and most importantly, stick to it exactly. Decide ahead of time what specific criteria you will be basing your decision on and only rank candidates based on it. Every candidate interview should also be as standardized as possible in terms of the questions asked.
5. Get Multiple Perspectives
The most challenging aspect of hiring bias is that you may not realize it is happening in your mind and influence your decision-making. Avoid this by bringing in other stakeholders to get their perspectives of the candidates. They can make you aware of shortcomings you may not have considered, or if you’re overlooking positive qualities in your lower-ranked candidates.
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