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How to Make Unbiased Hiring Decisions
There are two fundamental areas that you should focus on when it comes making unbiased hiring decisions. They are recognizing bias and implementing the processes and tools to make an unbiased decision.
When individuals and companies are aware of common biases in the workplace, they are more likely to recognize and ignore these biases during the hiring process. Educating individuals on these biases will help them remember and make use of some simple tips that are listed below to help overcome them.
What is an unbiased hiring decision?
A hiring decision that is “biased” is unfair and not productive for any organization. There are two types of biases involved in hiring decisions – conscious and unconscious. A conscious biased hiring decision is often easy to see. But to understand what an unbiased hiring decision is we first need to understand what an unconscious bias is. Unconscious biases are stereotypes of certain social and identity groups that are made outside one’s conscious awareness. Everyone has unconscious bias to some degree, and it is important to try to keep these biases out of the hiring process. That being said, an unbiased hiring decision is a decision made free from any biases, conscious and unconscious. Since many individuals are unfamiliar with the concept of unconscious bias the remainder of this post will focus on that topic specifically.
Why is it important to have unbiased hiring?
If your company or hiring manager has an unconscious bias, often an unfair hiring decision will be made. This means that they will make judgements that will cause unsound and biased decisions when hiring new employees. Some of the biases that are common are gender, race, appearance, and education. These are all things that should be overlooked when hiring because these items are not important. An individuals’ experience, ability to do the job they are applying for, and other skills they can bring to the company are important when making a hiring decision. Making unbiased hiring decisions will also help your organization have a diverse workforce and help hire the right person for the job.
6 Common Hiring Biases:
1. Gender Bias
This bias refers to having a preference of one gender over the other. This bias in the workplace tends to shift towards a certain gender dependent on the specific role. An example of this would be having a gender bias towards men when hiring construction workers.
2. Confirmation Bias
This bias refers to taking new information and using it to confirm your existing beliefs, ideas, and theories. An example of this would be if someone would ignore your idea because it did not fit into their idea of the project at hand.
3. Name Bias
This unconscious bias refers to the bias that occurs when reading or hearing someone’s name and picking the name that you recognize more. An example of this would be assuming someone with a Hispanic surname speaks Spanish, or someone with a non-Hispanic name does not speak Spanish. Using that information to decide who to interview would be unfair.
4. Race Bias
This bias is a bias that many already know of. It is a bias that is based around your race and ethnicity. An example of this would be like that of a name bias. This bias is seen in many situations. One example of this would be hiring a white woman over a black woman. Many times, like the others you are not aware you are creating this bias.
5. Age Bias
Age bias is another bias that most people are familiar with. This refers to a bias of hiring someone based on their age. Examples of this in the hiring process can go both ways where you may not want to hire someone too young or too old for a job.
6. Beauty/Appearance Bias
This bias is a bias that is based on physical looks and attraction. An example of this would be hiring someone who looks like a model for a makeup counter job.
Understanding these biases is just the first step the second step is how to make unbiased hiring decisions. For this you need to understand how to avoid these biases and gain tools to help do that. These are general tips that will help reduce or eliminate hiring biases that can be used for any of the biases listed above and more.
5 tips to help eliminate hiring biases:
1. Blind Hiring Process
Having a blind hiring process this can mean multiple things. Not involving videos in your first round of interviews and taking names off resumes and applications to not have a bias towards any one person. This would all be based off who has the most experience and is the best fit for the job.
2. Have a diverse hiring team
One of the greatest steps you can take would be to have your hiring team be diverse itself. This will bring different views to the hiring process and allow different voices to be a part of the process. This may also make the applicants more comfortable.
3. Implement Pre-employment assessments
This step can help eliminate bias because you will get a sense of the skills that an applicant has over traits about the applicant that may cause biases. Of course, the pre-employment assessments you choose must be free of any disparate impact or fairness issues.
4. Have a structured interview
Having a set of behaviorally based structured interview questions can help reduce bias hiring. Managers are not professional interviewers, and you must give them sound interview questions to use that focus on skills and provide the answers they should be evaluating. If you are asking the same questions, you can then compare the answers of all applicants where if you ask objective questions based on personality it may skew things and bring bias into the process.
5. Check/recognize your bias
This is any easy thing to do that has already been stated above always do a self-check as a company or hiring manager to make sure you are not showing bias in the workplace or in your hiring process. And always recognize and be aware of common hiring biases.
Biases in the hiring process are not good for a company. There are numerous consequences including missing out on hiring top performers, higher turnover rates, possible litigation, and much more. Identifying the unconscious biases and an individual has is the first step in improving the situation. As companies remove this unconscious bias in the hiring process, they will see a much higher return on investment on their overall hiring process.
Related Resource: Best Hiring Practices – Top Questions Answered
Related Blog Post: What Does A Pre-Employment Assessment Measure?