Four Ways to Avoid Unconscious Bias During the Hiring Process
Unconscious bias can appear in many distinct forms and just about anywhere you think. However, some of the most common instances of unconscious bias typically occur during the hiring and screening process before people even have the chance to put their foot in the door.
Before we begin to address the limitations of unconscious bias in the workplace and how to avoid it, let’s explore what this entails. Unconscious bias refers to the favouring of one candidate over the other based on how you subconsciously feel about certain characteristics.
Example of Unconscious Bias
Let’s illustrate this with an example. Imagine you are trying to decide between two candidates for a new position in your office. Candidate A has all the experience and skills you are looking for; however, Candidate B is more like yourself and shares similarities with your personality, race, age, gender, or even culture.
If you subconsciously choose candidate B based on these similarities, you could be subjecting the candidate to unconscious affinity bias. So, instead of creating a more diverse workplace with a range of perspectives, you are subconsciously creating a homogeneous staff.
This is a sticky situation to be in because you may not even realise it’s happening. However, showing bias in the workplace could even lead to legal troubles. To help avoid members of staff inflicting their bias on others, there are a few methods you can adopt.
Identify Structural Biases
Structural bias refers to existing processes and structures throughout the hiring process that could inflict inherent bias. For example, rather than having one person judge the interview stage, bring in a wide range of people with diverse opinions. Similarly, you should be careful about any referral programs you use.
Get Hiring Staff Trained
Many times, people inflict bias without even knowing they do so. Failure to treat employees and candidates equally can result in legal action from a team like HKM. Therefore, it’s best to get everyone trained up before they begin work.
Revise Job Descriptions
Sometimes bias can be implicit in the way we communicate, which is why you should carefully revise job descriptions. For example, don’t say you are looking for a “native English speaker”. Instead, say you want someone who is fluent in English.
Establish a CV Procedure
Another popular way to reduce bias during the hiring process is by establishing a CV procedure. For example, you can use software to strip out information that could hint to their race or background. Similarly, you can assign candidates tasks to judge their performance rather than their personality.
Aside from ridding yourself from any legal woes, getting rid of unconscious bias in the workplace is great for business. Without any bias, you’ll open your doors to a wider pool of talent with diverse skills and perspectives. Rather than trying to solve problems as a homogenous group of people with similar characteristics, you’ll benefit from better opportunities for creativity. All around, it’s a win-win situation,