What Is Hiring Bias & 6 Ways To Overcome It

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16 Nov, 2022

There are numerous things that you undertake to keep your organization in the best spirits. From checking hygiene to incentivising employees & introducing training services, your actions are aimed at improving employee morale and satisfaction. But what about things that do not resurface easily, yet exist? Bias can be one of them.

It is important to know what is bias before jumping to conclusions. Picture a situation where you had to select between two equally competent candidates (in terms of qualifications) for just one position.

From their interaction, one of them seemed highly interactive and answered your questions enthusiastically, while the other was comparatively shy and used lesser words. You would want to choose the former thinking they would contribute more to the company than the latter.

But how do you know if the first applicant put on a great show, while the second one was being genuine? This could lead to disastrous implications for your company.

It is uncanny how bias stems out of our personal experiences in life – our social groups, exposure to diversity in the world and other factors are components of bias that shape our decision-making process.

We rely on these biases to arrive at the most practical decision possible. However, these artificial prejudices may lead to a fall in productivity and integrity of the organization. Learning what kind of bias prevails in your hiring process and developing a way to mitigating is the only way to go.

What is Bias & how it affects your decisions

Bias can easily be mistaken for natural instincts. They can be referred to as “mental shortcuts” that influence our tendency to decide what’s “wrong” and what’s “right”. We are not immune to unconscious bias, according to research by Forbes. These thoughts could cloud our judgments which is detrimental to the hiring procedure and training services.

Bias can be conscious or unconscious. Unconscious bias occurs during the employment process when you generate an opinion about prospects based primarily on initial impressions. Or, if you favour one applicant over another merely because the first appears to be someone you’d feel comfortable hanging out with outside of work.

Even in the early phases of hiring, a candidate’s resume photo, name, or birthplace may have a greater effect on your decision than you realise. In brief, unconscious bias affects your decision-making mechanism, whether favourably or adversely, by considering factors unrelated to the work.

Sticking to biased decisions can not only cost you good candidates but it also puts diversity at risk.

*Breaking* The Bias In Hiring Process

Individual biases (mental shortcuts and proxies) exist along with those creeping into the hiring system (how we structure and streamline processes and filter candidates, for example). And, while we will never be able to completely eliminate prejudice at any level, we can address it and do our best to lessen its impact.

Sourcing

Hiring without recruitment process outsourcing may target certain institutions or degrees when recruiting applicants on networks like LinkedIn. This strategy has the potential to remove a huge number of competent candidates. To combat this form of bias, you can consider widening your search keywords to include historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs), Hispanic-serving institutions (HSIs), women’s colleges, and non-traditional educational institutions such as coding camps.

Your competitive edge comes from expanding your talent pool and including diversity. This approach can thus yield unexpected results.

Screening

The majority of cognitive biases manifest themselves when people scan resumes and cover letters. They spend the majority of their attention on a few “hotspots” – the candidate’s name, job title, and firm name. All of these factors are prone to be impacted by skewed decision-making. We recognize a school or corporation’s name (or do not) and make rash judgments as a result. Hiring managers devote little to no time to work duties and skill sets, which is unfortunate because these are the sections of a resume that provide the best indicator of whether an applicant is suitable for a position.

Blind recruiting is one method for reducing prejudice during the screening step. Key identifiers like as name, gender, and race are removed from resumes in this practice.

Stage of offer

When you rely on applicants to tell you what they expect or discuss their existing earnings, you risk introducing bias into the offer stage. Pay disparities can follow people throughout their careers, according to research. Furthermore, women are less inclined to initiate negotiations in the first place.

Having clear pay packages is one of the most significant things you can do to avoid prejudice during the offer stage. Erin advises adopting well-defined wage, bonus, and equity ranges to eliminate the negotiation gap. This not only benefits your prospects and new recruits but also fosters internal equity among your current staff.

Standardize the interview process

Eliminating recruiting prejudice requires a more objective approach to interviewing, which may be accomplished by standardizing the process. The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) recommends conducting organized interviews in which candidates are given the same set of predetermined questions focusing on aspects that directly affect job performance.

This framework reduces prejudice by removing subjective elements in talent acquisition services. Instead, you consider how a candidate would solve a specific problem or accomplish specific activities necessary for the post.

Define predictors that will help you choose the right fit – aptitude, reasoning or testing their skills would suffice. Work samples can also be excellent indicators of job performance. Asking an engineer to write sample code, a copywriter to write a sample blog, or a social media manager to design a sample strategy are all good methods of reducing interview and recruiting bias by concentrating on the work product itself.

Bottom Line

We all have biases, whether conscious or unconscious, depending on our own unique experiences. Some are beneficial, such as presuming you’ll get along with someone because you were in the same fraternity as them, while others are destructive, such as refusing to interview a woman for a leadership position.

It’s critical to realize your unconscious and explicit prejudices so they don’t affect your interviews and recruiting process. You will be moving toward more diverse workforce management and ensuring that every eligible candidate, regardless of gender or colour, has an equal opportunity to contribute to your firm.

Now that you’ve learned how to eliminate hiring prejudice, it’s time to begin hiring your greatest entry-level class yet. Get in contact to find out how Handshake can assist you with getting started.