How to Reduce Unconscious Bias in the Hiring Process

Diversity has become a major discussion point in 2020 and is likely to be a primary focus for businesses moving forwards.

While some businesses recognise they have a lot of work to do to make their operations more inclusive, many companies have been prioritising diversity over the past several years and are already realising the benefits that come hand-in-hand with a diverse workforce and inclusive working environment.

In fact, out of the businesses already prioritising diversity initiatives, 78% do so to improve company culture and 62% do so to boost financial performance, according to LinkedIn. Additionally, with diverse teams holding a greater range of insight and experience, they enable you to better understand your customers.

With the above in mind, it’s not surprising that diverse workforces are proven to be more successful.

Embedding a culture of diversity and inclusion in your business takes time but a great place to start is with your hiring process. How can you be sure that the people you’re bringing into your business are chosen in a fair, unbiased way?

Reducing unconscious bias

Unconscious bias is a term used to describe the stereotypes, prejudices and attitudes we hold within ourselves that we may not be aware of. An example of unconscious bias would be giving someone preferential treatment because their opinions and attitudes remind you of yourself. These biases are unintentional and implicit; many people are unaware that they hold them but they can influence the hiring decisions you make.

Naturally, unconscious bias can be problematic when trying to ensure that your recruitment process is fair and inclusive. So, how can you reduce unconscious bias within your hiring?

Involve multiple members of your team in your recruitment

Asking your colleagues to get involved in the hiring process can drastically reduce the chance of biased hiring. More opinions can keep you grounded and more focused on candidates’ application scores and ability to do the job in question, rather than their ‘likeability’.

Don’t just focus on involving other members of your team at interview or hiring stage; ask them to be involved from the beginning of the process. For example, when you write your job advert, ask another member of your team to read it and make sure that you’re not using any coded or problematic language.

Read: Want to Write More Inclusive Job Adverts? Here’s How

Utilise technology for blind hiring

Blind hiring processes are increasingly more common as companies look to improve the diversity of their hiring by ensuring that all applications are assessed fairly. Using the right recruitment technology can help your business to meet this requirement.

Some software can obscure candidates’ details to anonymise their applications so hiring managers can make a completely unbiased decision based on their skills and experience.

For example, Webrecruit ATS can anonymise the Personally Identifiable Information (PII) of a candidate, replacing their name with a unique number. This allows you to assess their application without any pre-conceived ideas and screen candidates fairly.

Make interviews fair and consistent

Have you ever interviewed a candidate that you’ve naturally got on really well with? You may instantly feel more connected to that person and be more likely to recommend them for the job. While chemistry and ‘fit’ are important, you shouldn’t be assessing candidates based on their likeability.

Standardising your interview questions is a good way of minimising the risk of unconscious bias. Building rapport with candidates is great but it’s also important to ask all interviewees the same questions; by all means, probe a bit deeper following any interesting answers but make sure that you stick to the same standardised list of questions to give everyone an equal opportunity to succeed.

Again, ask other members of your team to get involved in the interview process to help reduce the chance of personal bias.

Monitor your diversity statistics and take note

Is there a particular department in your business that’s all a similar age, gender or race? Why is that? Is it just an indicator of the market or could bias be involved?

Asking diversity questions on your online application forms is a great way of monitoring the diversity of your applicant pool and comparing it to your workforce. If your applicant pool is diverse but your employees are not, consider if there has been bias involved in the decision-making process or if these people were genuinely better qualified for the role.

Monitoring your diversity statistics is also key to measuring your progress. Remember, building a truly diverse and inclusive working environment isn’t a quick task; it’s a cultural shift but one that’s certainly worth undertaking.

Find out how recruitment technology can help to reduce your unconscious bias by booking a demo of Webrecruit ATS.

New call-to-action

Leave a Reply