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Improving Your Hiring Process by Eliminating Hidden Biases

Of course, everyone wants to run an unbiased hiring process. Doing so ensures that you get the best candidate every time. (And, it should be said, eliminating bias is just the right thing to do.) But not all bias is obvious. How do you eliminate hidden bias from your recruiting efforts when those preconceptions are, by definition, so hard to recognize?

It’s an important question. Bias doesn’t just prevent you from hiring the best possible candidates. It also infects your general culture and can undermine your ability to operate efficiently. For example, one study showed that employees are three times more likely to become disengaged if they perceive bias at the firm. (The survey indicated that 20% checking out when they saw bias, versus only 7% at unbiased workplaces.)

Creating an unbiased workplace, starting with your recruiting efforts, can eliminate these problems. But how do you achieve this? Here are a few tips to eliminate bias from your hiring process:

 

Prioritize a Fair, Unbiased Process

No one wants to think of themselves as biased. That fact makes people touchy about the subject. However, a defensive attitude is counterproductive, providing fertile ground for hidden biases to take hold.

Running an unbiased job search should rank high on your priority list. Make the goal part of your corporate culture. It will get everyone on the same page, diffuse much of the tension that surrounds the discussion of bias, and create an environment that allows you to run a fair hiring procedure.

 

Get Other People Involved

Sometimes it’s hard to recognize your own biases. That’s why working with a team offers an excellent strategy to minimize the impact of personal preconceptions. In a situation where you trust and respect your coworkers, everyone can honestly discuss the problem.

There is another step to the process, however. Groups can also amplify prejudices…hence, the corporate obsession with minimizing groupthink. This dynamic makes diversity important. As you build your hiring team, seek out truly different perspectives. Also, make sure everyone’s skills and backgrounds complement and expand on one another, rather than repeat or counteract.

 

Remove Bias from Your Job Description

Unconscious bias has a way of seeping into every aspect of the recruiting process. Job descriptions represent an excellent example. Small word choices can alienate certain groups. Watch out for these issues.

Eliminate gendered terminology and scour your proposed postings for phrases that favor particular age groups. And, of course, look out for anything overtly prejudiced against any other particular group.

Here’s where the diverse hiring team comes in handy. Let everyone read over the copy and search for problematic wording.

 

Standardize Your Interviews

Bias can often shape the interview process. You get a good feeling about a candidate early in the conversation and develop an easy back-and-forth. Meanwhile, if you get a bad gut reaction at the outset, the interview can quickly become cold and officious. The first candidate clearly has an advantage over the second one, based largely on a potentially unwarranted first impression.

Eradicate this possibility by standardizing your interview procedures. Have set questions for each candidate and try to keep the conditions stable from interview to interview.

 

Create an Objective System for Gauging Candidates

Before you even start gathering resumes, know what you want to find. Make a list of skills and qualifications you want in an ideal candidate. Then, as you meet prospective hires, match them against your preset checklist.

At the same time, try to eliminate subjectivity wherever you can. Create quantitative measures to help maintain objectivity.

However, stay vigilant as you prepare these measures. Even if you take a strictly mathematical approach to hiring, you could implant bias into the algorithms and the categories that you use. Again, your diverse hiring team will help you eliminate this possibility.

 

Give Quantified Skills Test

Each candidate will be expected to fill a certain role if they get hired. Your most objective measure of their suitability comes from testing them on their ability to fulfill the day-to-day responsibilities of the position. Come up with a skill test to gauge how well they would perform. This will further remove subjective judgment from the equation.

Eliminating bias helps you optimize your team, maximizing your ability to compete. Expert guidance lets you get the most out of your efforts. A top recruiting firm, like TriStarr, can make sure you find the perfect candidate for every open position.

Contact TriStarr today to learn more.