How to Reduce Bias During the Hiring Process

Because we are human, we all have inherent bias. When it comes to hiring, this bias can create issues, including the possibility of opening up an organization to accusations of discrimination. Organizations must take a proactive approach and learn more about the steps they should take to reduce and eliminate bias during the interview and hiring process. These steps can help to prevent discriminatory hiring practices and drive a culture that embraces diversity and welcomes a diverse team of employees.

Structured Interviews

Although most hiring managers prefer unstructured interviews, studies have shown that unstructured interviews are unreliable and open the evaluation up to bias. Experts suggest structured interviews be used instead. In a structured interview, each candidate is asked the same set of questions in the same order. During the interview process, the hiring manager ranks the answers to the questions as the candidate answers. After the interview, the data is evaluated and scored. By asking the same questions to each applicant, the scorecard can be analyzed and each candidate receives a grade that makes the unbiased evaluation of the candidate much easier. This type of interview has been shown to provide a better assessment of a candidate’s future performance and likelihood of success in your organization.

Work Sample Tests

Another way to remove bias from the interview process is to evaluate the candidate’s performance doing a task they would have to do on the job. For instance, if you are hiring a proposal writer, you might have them create an answer to an RFP. For programmers, they might have to create an application or take a coding test. All of these methods take the subjectivity out of the interview process and provides an objective, quantitative analysis of the candidate’s skills and their ability to do the job.

Rethink Language in Job Descriptions and Postings

Not only are humans inherently biased, our language is as well. Oftentimes job descriptions and postings for jobs contain language that skews towards traditional gender roles. Although a company may take steps to remove bias during the interview process, gendered language reflects on the organization’s culture which could ultimately reflect in the pool of talent that applies for the job. Removing words that infer gender bias is another step toward removing inherent bias, especially along gender lines.

Leveraging Technology

More recruiting professionals are leveraging technology and analytics to screen candidates and provide the most qualified applicants based on skills and education. Many organizations use technology to remove identifying information from an applicant’s resume to remove the candidate’s name, address, and any other demographic information that might lead to unconscious bias. Technology is also used for behavioral personality testing used to evaluate how the candidate would respond in situations they might encounter in the workplace.

Diversity helps bring a wide array of perspectives into an organization. Companies are finding that diversity initiatives are critical to the success of their business because a diverse workplace helps drive creativity, increase innovation, and attain better results. Ensuring the hiring practices are free from bias is one of the first steps in creating and ensuring a diverse workplace.

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