How to Reduce Bias in Your Hiring ProcessNatalia Persin
Although widely unintentional, many companies are guilty of introducing bias into their hiring process. Even those who strive to ensure that bias does not exist in their recruiting process, are often unsuccessful in doing so.
Reducing bias in your hiring process means implementing various behaviors and practices focused on diversity. By taking the time to analyze your procedure, you can identify various areas where you and your hiring team can do a better job.
How can you reduce bias in your hiring process? Keep reading to find out how.
What is Bias in the Hiring Process?
Most people know that varieties of bias exist in many parts of society, even with the best efforts in place to prevent it. This is mostly because by working hard to eliminate bias, people often create even more, just in different ways.
During the hiring process, this bias can result in recruitment practices that are skewed toward specific candidates before the interview is over. In most cases there are typically many qualified candidates, however, some bias that managers have can keep them from taking a closer look at them.
How Does Bias Affect Your Hiring Process?
For many years, the most common practice used when recruiting candidates is to look for someone who fits into the culture of the company. However, because this is what hiring teams are looking for, they often miss many candidates that are more qualified for the position.
Because of this, the company tends not to see any growth when it comes to the culture of the workplace environment. When you hire only like candidates, you keep the culture exactly where it is instead of adding diversity.
Companies that do this risk being known to the public and potential candidates as not being a diverse company to work for. Because of this, they will often avoid applying for these positions.
Overall, having any type of bias in your hiring process can result in your company being less diverse than the competition and can bring about poor performance. When the culture is the same, there are no employees who will challenge others to see things differently.
What Types of Bias Can Exist in the Hiring Process?
Most people know that many different types of bias exist both inside and outside the workplace. These various biased beliefs often keep people from being able to grow and learn the way they should.
But what are the most common biased beliefs that exist in the hiring process? Read on to find out.
Having a bias toward gender happens more than you may think, even though it has come a long way since many years ago. There are still certain biases that exist in the hiring process that keeps employers from hiring men or women for some roles.
For example, even though some change has occurred, it is still uncommon to see a female as a construction worker and a male as a preschool teacher. It is not because society does not believe they can do the work but because it has not been the norm.
Whether you want to believe it or not, age can play a huge role in whether or not someone is hired for a position. This can be true even if they have the qualifications to do the job that is advertised.
In many cases, the bias can be swayed if the person is younger or older than what the employer believes they should be to do the job well. Unfortunately, age can be a factor in choosing a candidate that may be less qualified but fits the age the company is looking for.
Unfortunately, even with the advances society has made toward this type of bias, it still exists in some locations or some companies. This bias can either keep some individuals from being hired altogether, or they may be offered the position but at a lower pay scale.
When companies boast that they are diverse and strive to hire people with all types of differences, this is sometimes not always the case. By trying to hire diverse individuals, they may not be offering the same opportunities as they would other people.
While less impactful than the other types of bias, another form that may exist during the hiring process is likeability. This is typically seen when the interview is going well and seems like the candidate is a perfect fit for the company.
Because of this type of bias, other candidates may not be looked at as closely, thus disqualifying them from being hired. This is especially true if the person you like for the position is one of the first candidates you interview.
Although an important part of the hiring process, conducting reference checks before an interview can create some bias toward the candidate. This is because while you are interviewing, you may be thinking about what the references may have stated instead of what the candidate is saying.
In many cases, doing the reference checks before the interview can unfairly skew your decision not to even interview the candidate. This could result in the most qualified candidate being eliminated from the running altogether.
How Can You Reduce Bias in Your Hiring Process?
Reducing bias during the hiring process is important to ensure that you are treating all candidates fairly and justly. Keep in mind that you are looking for the best candidates to fill the positions that you have to help move your organization forward.
Companies can only grow when the right people are in the right positions, which results in higher performance and productivity. This, in turn, creates not only a productive work environment but also one that is diverse, equitable, and inclusive.
Curious about the various ways in which you can reduce bias in your hiring process? Keep reading to learn more.
Analyze the Current Hiring Process for Bias
The first step you will need to take to reduce bias in your hiring process is to admit that it likely exists. Once you know that there is bias in some form or fashion, you will be able to get to the bottom of it and work to get rid of it.
The process for getting this done is to make sure that you and the committee you put together are taking into consideration every part of the process. This will ensure that you can find the areas where bias exists, then work to reduce it.
Remove Biased Language From Job Descriptions
Another step in reducing bias in your hiring process is to take a closer look at your current job descriptions for every position in the company. Some likely words and phrases can show bias towards one type of person or another.
For example, there are many words that you may be using in your job description that may make people think you only want a man or woman in the position. Be careful to rid your job descriptions of anything that may influence whether someone qualified applies to the position or not.
Create an Understanding of What Diversity Means to Your Company
One of the first steps in ensuring that you are reducing bias in your hiring process is to get a better understanding of what diversity means to the company. While diversity is often associated with race and gender, there is more to it than that.
As you are revamping your hiring process, it is important to first understand what your company views as diversity in the workplace. Does it mean that you hire a variety of people from different backgrounds, races, genders, and more?
Use AI and other Software to Reduce Bias
Many companies are not using AI and other software to reduce the bias that may be a part of the normal hiring process. By using this type of technology, you can ensure that candidates are only being considered based on their specific skills and qualifications.
If you are not currently using AI automation or other software in your hiring process, it may be something you should consider. Doing so can help you and your hiring committee by recommending candidates that you will interview based entirely on their qualifications.
Standardize Your Hiring Process
Many companies use hiring practices that have been a part of their company culture for several years without making any changes. Because of this, many hiring practices are severely outdated and hold quite a bit of bias.
To reduce bias in your hiring process, you will need to standardize your hiring practices to ensure that everyone is treated fairly. This is especially important during the interview process to make sure that you are making the best comparison of candidates.
Put Together a Diverse Hiring Team
For many companies, hiring is not done by only one or two people but rather by a team that works together. As you are putting together the team that will make the hiring decision, it is important to make sure that the team is diverse enough to make the right decisions.
When you are looking to reduce bias and create a diverse culture, it often starts with making sure that the hiring team itself is not biased. This means that if you have only one gender or race that is making the decisions, you will likely continue to have a bias in your process.
Stop Focusing on Cultural “Fit”
During the hiring process in some companies, you may often hear managers state that they are looking for the right “fit” for the position. What they often mean is that they are wanting to hire someone who does not bring diversity but rather brings the sameness to which the company is accustomed.
If you are attempting to reduce bias in your hiring process, you must first give up on finding someone that is the perfect fit for the position. This is because to become a truly diverse work environment, you need a wide range of people with a variety of skills and backgrounds to continue to grow the company.
Train Your Hiring Team to Watch for Bias
When you put your hiring team together, it is important to make sure that they are well-trained to ensure that bias does not exist in the process. While your human resources department may know the correct procedures to use, others you place on the team may not.
Because of this, it is important to make sure you are providing professional development opportunities to those team members who are on the hiring team. Ongoing training is important to make sure that your team is keeping up with best practices for hiring and even taking the time to look at other industries for possible ideas.
Benefits of Reducing Bias
When it comes to reducing bias in the hiring process, there are many benefits that it brings to your company. These benefits result in your company becoming more diverse and being one of the places that attract the best talent.
Here are a few of the benefits of reducing bias in your hiring process:
- Create a company culture that is diverse, equitable, and inclusive
- Attract higher qualified candidates from varied backgrounds
- Retain diverse employees
- Increase the performance of current employees who feel empowered
- Create better performance and productivity
- Raise overall employee morale
- Reduces the chance of your company being sued for discrimination
While these may not be all of the benefits of reducing bias in the hiring process, they go a long way to helping your organization grow. To keep your company from becoming stagnant, it begins with the hiring procedures you use regularly.
Ready to Reduce Bias in Your Hiring Process?
Knowing the different types of bias that may exist and then coming up with a plan to reduce it can be the best way to revamp your hiring process. Keep in mind that some red flags exist during the interview process that could tell you that your company may be using biased hiring practices.