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6 Ways to Reduce Bias During Recruitment

author Written by Angeline Licerio September 23, 2020

quick guide to build

All organizations aspire to make their workplace diversity and to have high performing teams. But, sometimes, these goals are too hard to achieve because of hiring bias. Hiring bias happens when the lead recruiter favors a certain applicant over others, resulting in an irrational decision that may compromise the retention efforts of the company as well as its goal to diversify the workplace. 

Letting go of the perfect individual for the job because of unconscious discrimination will reduce the company's chance to stay competitive and grow exponentially. To prevent this from happening and ensure that you are hiring the right people for the positions, it is crucial to reduce hiring biases.

Why does it happen?

Bias enters the picture when the recruiter has an unconscious or deeply embedded feeling against a certain race, appearance, gender, educational background, socio-economic factor, and other discriminatory factors. It is a human error that is influenced by a preconceived judgment, clouding objective evaluation. The hiring person may not be aware that this is happening, but finding someone that has similar interests or comes from the same university can trigger a favorable emotion.

On the other hand, conscious bias occurs when the recruiter has previous experience with the applicant, creating a strong feeling that may impact the process and overlook the person's positive abilities.

Ways to reduce bias in recruitment

Recruit to retain

Avoid the affinity bias and embrace a diverse environment that allows new talents to shine. Diversity is vital if you want the company to survive in the new normal. A diverse talent pipeline is one of the keys to adapt to the fast-paced competition. Recruiting leaders should focus on hiring applicants with the right, above-average skills to deliver the desired results.

By aligning the recruitment requirements and process with the company's culture, values, mission, and working style, there will be an increased retention rate of employees. It promotes better and longer work relationships because the new recruits fit in with the organization and are engaged in the jobs they do best.

Standardize the recruitment process with a structured and unstructured interview

Unconscious bias strikes without a warning, so it is essential to mitigate it by having a set of prepared questions and avoid diverging from them. On the other hand, unstructured interviews allow room for biases to creep in, making it hard for the recruiter to benchmark the applicants.

The best option is to combine the two methods, asking pre-planned questions and an unstructured discussion afterward. It gives a better chance for the candidates to present themselves better and share their previous experiences. It is also crucial to have solid criteria of the required skills for the job, making the structured interview measurable and objective.

Form a panel of interviewers

A collaborative human-based approach will reduce the risk of bias. To ensure objectivity, select a group of people with different backgrounds, ethnicity, gender, age, and views. This way, unconscious and personal biases will be avoided, promoting a fair hiring process.

Let each of them ask questions and take down notes during the interview. When the interview is done, make them submit their evaluations or opt for an open discussion about the candidates. Study all their inputs before making a final decision.

Administer pre-employment tests

Incorporating pre-employment tests into your recruitment method is another way to remove biases. They are highly-predictive but offer valuable insights about the traits and capabilities of the applicants. The tests include personality assessment, skills tests, and cognitive ability tests.

The results of these scientifically validated assessments help many companies to find the best employees. The evaluation is very reliable and free from human intervention. They also allow the hiring team to see the most suitable candidates for the jobs while providing an equal ground for everyone to display their potentials.

Use recruitment software

Another excellent way to reduce hiring bias is to digitalize the recruitment system. It will help you assess objectively, refine, track down, monitor, and fine-tune the company's hiring process.

These digital tools have features that help streamline the applicants' data and use scorecards to evaluate them. It helps you cover different skills and attributes of every candidate, like communication skills, technical knowledge, decision-making ability, and more.

Furthermore, if you are implementing collaborative recruitment, it will make the sharing of opinions and inputs more convenient. Each member of the team can leave remarks, notes, or scores, which can shorten the time spent on decision making and ensures objective and fair selection.

Automate the entire hiring process

If you want to eliminate the risk of human biases, opt for the total automation of the recruitment process. It means no or little involvement of anyone, allowing an objective assessment of all interviewees. There is automation software that is primarily designed to check the competencies of people applying for specific roles. Automation guarantees minimal errors and reduces the burdensome process of pre-assessment, coordinating, interviewing, reviewing, and recording the results.

Look for the best job competency tool that will cater to your needs and provides maximum recruitment solutions.

Job applicants are given tests with open-ended questions, allowing them to provide more information about their personality, skills, work attitudes, experiences, and more.

The insights from this type of questioning help the hiring leader to decide who among them fit the company's culture and work values. At the end of the session, a factual and impartial assessment report can be accessed by the recruiting head for the final evaluation.

In summary

It is a fact that you only need the first 10 seconds to create a positive or negative impression on another person during the initial meeting. In the hiring process, that brief period can provoke an unconscious bias that is detrimental to the results of the application.

Unknown to the candidate, the recruiter is already halfway on his decision to hire or reject the application, despite his or her impressive credentials.

To avoid inaccurate judgment, unfair decision, discrimination, and overlooking the best person for the job, you need to stop the biases when finding someone to hire. Only by eliminating any form of bias and using relevant metrics from any of the techniques above will you get the assurance that every hired person would be an asset to the company.

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