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Ways to Reduce Bias in the Hiring Process

May. 2022

It's a well-known fact that biases exist in the hiring process. Whether it's because of gender, race, or even an applicant's name, it's important to be aware that these things might be swaying your judgment and be intentional about looking beyond them. It's also important to make sure your company culture is set up in such a way that you are encouraging diversity.

What is hiring bias?

Bias refers to the subtle, conscious or subconscious ways in which our own personal experiences and preconceived notions affect how we work, live, and interact with other people.

The fact that we usually don’t consciously notice our own biases allows these tendencies to creep into our work and our lives in ways that can be harmful to ourselves and others.

In some cases this can have a negative impact on your hiring process. If you don’t take steps to identify and neutralize your own biases, you might find yourself unintentionally hiring candidates who look or act like you or people you know, even though they may not be the best fit for the job, or disqualifying people who could have been perfect for your team just because they don’t.

That’s why it’s important to examine your hiring process and make improvements wherever possible.

How to address potential hiring bias?

When you first meet a candidate, evaluate them objectively and without pre-judging their abilities or personality traits. Give them time to explain their qualifications and show them what they can bring to your company before making any conclusions about their fit with your existing team or organization.

Do:

- Watch your wording in job descriptions and make sure your job postings are not geared toward a specific gender, race, or age group.

- Ask candidates to take a work sample test or to present a portfolio. You’ll be able to compare them and predict who will do a good job.

- Make sure you are not using application questions to screen out candidates based on any factor. When reviewing applications, be consistent and fair.

Don’t:

- Assume that someone is unqualified on first impressions.

- Engage in unstructured interviews. Have candidates answer a standard set of questions to make sure you're consistent in interviewing.

- Let your diversity goals fall by the wayside. Keep track of how well you're doing on them.

Eliminating bias from your hiring process takes more than just saying that everyone should be treated fairly and equally. It's a matter of changing your attitudes and the ways you interact with candidates all through the hiring process, and it's not something that happens overnight.

The first step is to acknowledge what your biases are, and then make a conscious effort to adjust for them when hiring.

We all have inherent biases. We should acknowledge these biases and try to work around them.