Diversity, equity, and inclusion are more than just trends; they are imperative for all organizations. In 2020 the world learned, listened, and talked about diversity and inclusion and in 2021, people are taking action which will have a long-lasting impact. Last year, in response to social justice movements and protests, organizations all over the world addressed and made plans to tackle important DEI issues in the workplace.
Employers are striving to foster a more diverse, equitable, and inclusive work environment, and one way to achieve this is by eliminating any form of discrimination in the hiring process. Below are tips on how to recognize and reduce hiring bias in the recruitment process, so your organization can build and retain a more diverse workforce.
Hiring Bias Explained
Hiring bias stems from unconscious bias which is defined as, “prejudice or unsupported judgments in favor of or against one thing, person, or group as compared to another.” Unconscious bias influences decision making which can have negative or positive consequences. In this case, hiring bias plays a negative role in an organization and leads to poor hiring decisions. Most hiring managers aren’t even continuously aware that they are doing this. The first step to eliminating hiring bias is to understand what it is and identify it within your organization.
During the hiring process, unconscious bias happens when a hiring manager or recruiter forms an opinion based on a first impression or has a preference for one candidate over another because they seem similar to themselves. These biases limit the efforts of creating a diverse workforce. If everyone being hired is alike, the whole team’s background and decision-making process will be similar. Deloitte Insights research found, “high-performing teams are both cognitively and demographically diverse.” In the end, creating homogeneous teams leads to bad business outcomes.
How to Reduce Hiring Bias
Now that you know what hiring bias is and how it can negatively impact your organization, you need to know how you can reduce hiring bias blind spots.
1. Work With a Staffing Agency
As an employment agency with over 50 years of experience and knowledge in the staffing industry, we pride ourselves on connecting organizations with the most talented and versatile candidates regardless of one’s race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, or disability. At JOHNLEONARD, we have access to an ever-growing diverse talent pool. Our trained Staffing Consultants tap into our extensive pool of candidates and with the help of technology and recruitment tools, we can efficiently fill jobs. We use applicant tracking systems and talent intelligence software which prevents bias and helps us find candidates’ jobs solely based on their skills, experience, and qualifications. To learn more about our DEI initiatives, click here.
2. Review and Edit Your Job Descriptions
Job descriptions can influence a candidate’s first impression of an organization. Many companies aren’t aware that their job postings contain biased language. The most common bias found in job postings is gender-bias which has a serious negative effect on diversity. Unconsciously, we create opinions based on society’s gender stereotypes. Theories have proven gender bias is influenced by social roles.
Stereotypically gendered words include feminine words such as gentleness, nurturing, sensitive and masculine words such as aggressive, assertiveness, and independent. Gendered words can play a major role in whether or not a candidate feels like they can apply to that job. To create a more balanced job description, review your listing, and look out for any gender-specific descriptive words. Replace any words with neutral words that apply and appeal to every and all genders.
3. Restructure Your Interviews
Unconscious bias can occur during the interview process. If your interviews are too structured, asking the same standardized questions to every candidate, it can hinder the candidate experience. If your interviews are too relaxed and unstructured, you could end up only hiring people who you would personally like to work with. Try changing the format of your interviews such as a panel interview, which can easily be executed via video. Have multiple interviewers of diverse backgrounds ask different behavioral questions. Panel interviews create a well-balanced interview and reduce bias.
As human beings, we all have our own unconscious biases. When it comes to hiring talent, these biases can creep in and create a lack of diversity. To ensure you hire the best people for the job, regardless of what they look like or who they are, try these suggestions and you’ll move toward a more diverse, equitable, and inclusive work environment.
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