Ten Steps to Reduce Unconscious Bias In Hiring - And Why

In 2021, it is long past time to represent a variety of backgrounds, perspectives, and life experiences. Diversity and inclusion have come to the forefront of societal issues. And the unprecedented takeover of remote work along with virtual hiring like video interviews present their own bias challenges. There is an ever-changing array of obstacles that interfere with the neutrality of recruitment and hiring.

There are more ways than ever before to eliminate unconscious bias in hiring. Discover the bottom-line benefits of diverse individuals and perspectives in business.

Further Reading: Refer to our robust knowledge base for the expert rundown on hiring bias

What Is Unconscious Bias In Hiring?

Especially in recruitment and hiring, sometimes first impressions have a disproportionate influence. Hiring managers, recruiters, and interviewers should already know that leaning on intuition or ‘gut’ feelings is not an appropriate basis for hiring decisions. But mere awareness about the potential for bias is not enough to prevent it.

Humans inherently prefer people similar to themselves. It subconsciously makes us more comfortable to have people around with familiar appearance, personality, cultural/ethnic background, hometown, school, etc. This is affinity bias at work, and it overlaps with a host of other biases.

Almost everyone unwittingly maintains stereotypes about a particular age, gender, sexuality, and ethnic group. When someone’s preconceptions cause them to unknowingly make assumptions about job candidates’ adequacy, it infects the hiring process with problematic bias.

Hiring bias is not limited to preferential treatment of someone who is blatantly unqualified. With the pervasive phenomenon of confirmation bias at play, decision-makers feel favorable towards an applicant out of bias. Then, they subliminally reverse-engineer or inflate practical, job-related reasons to hire them.

Everybody is aware that wanton discrimination is wrong and usually against the law. But unconscious bias in hiring is subtle. Tackling unconscious bias in hiring practices means counteracting the tendency to jump to conclusions. Re-examine every step of recruiting and hiring, from job listings and applications to resume screenings and interviews.

The Benefits of Reducing Unconscious Bias In Hiring

Hiring someone who looks or feels familiar or fits in with the group based on race, age, gender, or even personality detracts from the true goal of hiring. The sole focus should be locating the best person for a position based on factors that causally contribute to workplace productivity.

Unconscious bias in hiring practices distract from applicants’ relevant traits and progressively homogenize workplaces. Excessive similarity across a workforce can be a measurable detriment to a team or company’s success.

Individuals’ perspectives inform how they approach problem-solving and creative endeavors. Lack of diversity limits the available perspectives within a team, precluding critical thinking and innovation. Alternatively, diverse groups of people produce work that is more factual, rational, and inventive according to the research. McKinsey data from 2015 demonstrates that companies at the top quartile of racial, ethnic, and gender diversity are 35% more likely to surpass the industry median in financial returns.

Additionally, a recent World Economic Forum report shows businesses thriving when they lead the pack in equity, diversity, and inclusion. Such companies achieved 20% higher innovation rates with 19% higher innovation revenues. They were 30% better at anticipating and avoiding business risks. There was a statistically significant causal relationship between diversity and employee engagement and retention. More diverse workforces were 25-35% more likely to outperform the competition in profits.

Reduce Unconscious Bias In Hiring In Ten Steps

  1. Broaden the talent pool

    Unconscious bias can even sneak into the earliest recruiting stages. Concentrating too intensely on a particular age group, gender, or ethnic group prohibitively limits the pool of candidates. When considering how and where to recruit or post job listings, have an open mind about the people who might be cut out for the job.
    Avoid coded language that appeals to some demographics and alienates others. Opt instead for job listings that neutrally describe the required skills, behaviors, and responsibilities. This extends the reach of help wanted ads to include more objectively qualified individuals. Recruiting efforts with a wider breadth yield a higher likelihood of landing the perfect new hire.

  2. Assemble a team

    Gathering a team or committee to collaboratively review candidates and interviews can help cancel out the individual members’ unconscious biases. In the same way that diverse groups of employees are greater than the sum of their parts, a diverse hiring team may take a more logical, reasoned approach to hiring decisions. Maybe welcome input from throughout the whole workforce. Where irrelevant information may compromise one person’s perspective about an applicant, the voices of other decision-makers with varied mindsets can balance the hiring process.

  3. Depend on work samples

    Integrate work samples into candidate evaluation. Deemphasize the face-value impressions people make that contribute to hiring bias. Instead, accurately assess people’s abilities using a snapshot of work they supply.

  4. Identify and prioritize job-specific traits

    The best way to combat the undue influence of superficial details is to strategically direct the scope of the recruiting and hiring process. Determine and emphasize which qualities the company and position truly need.
    Distilling the job opening down to a collection of specific characteristics that dictate performance ability guides the recruiting and hiring process impartially. This also condenses the talent pool in a constructive way that ushers in talent based on pure merit, not bias or stereotypes.

  5. Use predictive analytics

    Predictive analytics like PerceptionPredict is the next-generation system to equitably supplement recruitment and hiring. Our Performance Fingerprints compile organization- and role-specific data. We develop a profile of the ideal candidate by boiling the sales position down to a model of the most relevant psychographic traits.

    This ‘sales DNA’ is the standard by which to measure all applicants. Refine the selection process with the singular goal of the highest potential for job performance. PerceptionPredict derives proven decision support mapping from unbiased data on skills, behaviors, and competencies.
  6. Structure the interview process

    The structured interview process entails asking every candidate the same question in the same order. Standardized assessment cuts down on distractions like personality, similarity, and other bias-provoking variables. All that is left is significant information. Interviewers can directly compare all applicants’ responses and analyze them exclusively for indicators of job success and position fit.

  7. Increase anonymity

    Resumes and interviews easily become a quagmire of unconscious bias. Delay resume screening and systematically remove all information prone to inducing biases. Blind the recruiting and hiring mechanisms by filtering out and ignoring unimportant factors such as hometown, graduation dates/age, gender, name, and pictures. Postpone in-person interviews until the final stages to keep things anonymous and performance trait-driven as long as possible.

  8. Implicit bias training

    Make sure all employees, hiring managers, recruiters, and interviewers remain well-versed in the hazards of unconscious bias. Education and unconscious bias training for hiring managers make people aware of their stereotypes, assumptions, and automatic thoughts. Training can help them reprogram reactions and approach the workplace with less bias.

  9. Gather data continuously

    From the outset of negating unconscious bias and stereotypical hiring practices, collect data about the business’s makeup, recruiting, and hiring statistics. To blueprint recruiting and hiring improvements, first detect where problems are occurring along the recruitment pipeline. Be sure to monitor sites like Indeed and Glassdoor in search of reviews and insights into what could be going wrong and repelling certain demographics.

  10. Set and meet goals

    Start with the overarching goal of diverse and inclusive hiring free from bias. Then segment that into gradual, actionable steps. Reconstruct recruiting and hiring practices as necessary based on what the organization needs. Define goals in terms of inclusion and performance, and track progress along the way.

How PerceptionPredict Eliminates Bias With Hiring

Perceiving and achieving extraordinary sales performance has never been easier. PerceptionPredict has developed accurate and reproducible AI procedures using exhaustive research. Our predictive analytics harness hard data to chart out what the optimal candidate looks like within your individual role and rates people’s compatibility accordingly.

Book a demo to level up the objective quality of your hires with PerceptionPredict.

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