When hiring a new employee, it is important to maintain fair practices throughout the entire process. Unconscious bias can happen at any time and can inhibit diversity, retention rates, and can be harmful to the employees of the company itself. Here are five ways to minimize hiring bias during the interview and hiring process:
1. Learn about what unconscious biases are.
The first step of minimizing biases through the hiring process is to understand what types of common biases exist and how to avoid adopting these harmful mentalities. Many biases arise from comparison, expectation, judgement, or preconceived notions about the applicant. Take some time to understand what types of biases there are, why these biases might come about, why they are detrimental to adopt, and what biases may affect your company more than others.
You won’t be able to minimize unconscious bias if you do not understand what they look like, to begin with. Teach awareness in your company by making sure everyone in your organization is aware that these types of biases exist so they are better able to prevent themselves from adopting these mentalities and can spot when something unfair is occurring.
2. Streamline interview processes.
An easy way to take out the possibility of unconscious bias during the interview and hiring process is to use automation. During interview automation, the company that is hiring can ensure that each applicant is treated the exact same way throughout the entire process. This is done by having a pre-determined set of questions for the candidate to answer, taking out the variable of the interviewer.
The applicant may answer the questions through either a recorded video process or a questionnaire. If more interviews are automated, then less of an unconscious bias would be possible throughout the process.
3. Create structured interviews.
Often, hiring managers will ask the candidate questions that they feel are relevant at the given moment based on who is in front of them. Did you know that this can actually be harmful to the hiring process and create bias? According to an article on bias in interviews, unstructured interviews were actually the least effective in predicting employee performance and increased biases. If interviews are done in person, they should all have the same questions in each one.
This process ensures that all of the candidates are treated the same and given a fair chance at the job they are applying for. Structuring is also a good way for hiring managers to look at the objective reasons why they should hire someone rather than basing their interview on the subjective interaction that they have with the candidate.
4. Take out unimportant information.
If you want to have an unbiased perspective on the applicants your company is considering, then try taking out all of the information that may create unconscious biases before the applicants are considered. When your company gets an application, set up a system where the applicant’s name, age, gender, ethnicity, appearance, and sexual orientation is not recorded. Each of these aspects can create an unconscious bias that ultimately may change who gets hired.
Being judged based on any of these characteristics would be unfair and would shift the demographic of employees at company overtime. An applicant should be chosen because of the skills and qualifications they have and not any unimportant characteristics they may have.
5. Implement skills tests.
Since applicants should be judged on their skills, if companies implement tests to assess the skills they are looking for then they should be able to find the employee that is right for them without judging them on unimportant factors. Make sure that your company actually tests for what they are looking for to get an accurate picture of what the employee is capable of doing. Companies may assume capability from talking to someone, but this can also lead to unconscious biases and inaccurate assessments.
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