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Today’s Question: How do you keep unconscious bias out of your hiring process?
The answers below are provided by members of FounderSociety, an invitation-only organization composed of ambitious startup founders and business owners.
1. Stop and Think
Whenever I start to feel like someone I’m interviewing might not be a good fit, I like to step back from the interview process and ask myself a few questions. How would I feel about them if they were another gender? If they had a different accent? If they were of a different nationality?
If any of those things would change my opinion, that means I’m biased – and I can shut that down.
— Steven Buchwald, Buchwald & Associates
2. Ask an Unbiased Teammate to Interview Candidates
I am naturally a trusting person, so I bring in another person when interviewing and ask the candidate about their strengths and weaknesses. This way, I can get the thoughts of the other person, the thoughts of the candidate, and my own thoughts to make a conclusion. Sometimes, I even make a pros and cons list to keep things logical regarding the fit we are looking for at that time.
— Jessica Baker, Aligned Signs
3. Give an Assignment
We give assignments to all of our candidates. For example, a quick assignment we recently listed on the job description of a marketing associate position was: “Explain how we can double our traffic in three months.” It’s a fantastic way to see candidates’ writing and reasoning skills without seeing them in person or hearing their accents. It also weeds out candidates who aren’t serious about applying.
— James Hu, Jobscan
4. Automate as Much as Possible
The first step of my job interviewing process requires applicants to submit a video response. I have a rating scale I use when interviewing applicants that helps limit bias.
— Ajmal Saleem, Suprex Learning
5. Consider How the Candidate Will Affect the Business as a Whole
Little matters more to a business owner than qualified candidates who deliver quality in a proactive manner without causing a fuss or disrupting the culture. Any good leader should do their best to look at positive qualities that fit the interests of the business. We’re all selective, and bias is natural. However, thinking of the greater health of the whole should limit myopic decision-making.
— O. Liam Wright, True Interaction
6. Try Different Methods Until You’re Confident About Your Decision
Try a variety of strategies and see what suits your organization. For example, you could make technical projects part of your hiring process (e.g., Unbounce requires you to build a landing page when applying). Have the candidate’s future team involved in evaluating their fit. Discuss past work to gauge passion and expertise. Take the time to review the candidate’s portfolio, speak to past clients or employers, and ask questions that make you feel confident they have the drive and work ethic necessary.
— Ryan Meghdies, Tastic Marketing