January 17, 2017

Stop unconscious bias from sneaking into your hiring process

I hate to break it to you, but you’re biased. I’m biased too. We all are. That doesn’t make us bad people – it just makes us human – but it does mean that we make bad hiring decisions without even knowing it. If we want to hire the best people, we need to get better at eliminating unconscious bias.

Did you know that by 2022 the workforce is expected to be comprised of 47% women and 40% minorities? Companies have to get better at identifying the very best of this workforce. Those that choose to invest in doing so may expect to receive a host of benefits this upcoming year.

We’ve identified 5 simple steps that a company can take to attract a more qualified pool of talent.  

(We’ve built our app on these 5 principles, but you can apply them in any organisation, whether you use our software or not.)

Prioritize job skills.

Before even writing a job description, ask what is most important to success in this role? Once you’ve listed the skills and qualifications you seek in the candidate, prioritize them throughout the entire hiring process. Research shows if you prioritize what is most important (and it’s not a huge list) you’ll get more qualified applicants, including women and minorities.

Craft inclusive job descriptions that set an inviting tone.

After narrowing down what is most important to succeed in the role, describing it effectively and inclusively will help you write a better job description. Some words and phrases, like “loyalty, passion, collaboration” have been shown to appeal more to women, where others, like “competitive, best of the best, fast paced” appeal more to men. It’s ok to use both sets of words.  Just make sure the job description is balanced. (Unitive’s database gives you realtime feedback on whether your job description will appeal equally to men and women.)

Conduct blind resume review.  

Since names often signal race or gender, remove the name from the resume. Even though people with a racially marked or gendered name might be as qualified as someone else, sometimes they are not considered in the same way. By hiding the name, you ensure that they will be evaluated in an equal way.

Conduct structured interviews.

The research also has found that prepared questions that have already shown to make people successful in the job role help interviewers to select the very best candidate in structured interviews.

Have a data-driven hiring decision process.

Interviewers should score the candidate, and the score should be shared throughout the entire hiring team. Group sourcing scores have been shown to lead to hiring decisions based off professionalism instead of personal biases.

If all this sounds like a lot to keep track of, try our app. It’s free to sign up. See how Unitive automates most of these best practices to reduce unconscious bias in your hiring.