7 Ways to Reduce Bias While Hiring Employees

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According to onesurvey , 60% of recruiters and hiring managers will decide on a candidate in just fifteen minutes of meeting them.

However, if a decision is made that quickly, it might’ve been made with some unconscious biases. These unconscious biases can be challenging to a company focused on promoting a diverse workforce. 

But having a diverse workforce starts when recruiters hire a diverse group of people. Keep reading to learn about seven strategies that could help you reduce hiring bias.

What Is Hiring Bias?

Everyone has some bias depending on how they perceive and understand the world. How you connect with people is usually based on shared experiences, and recruiters may connect with some people easier than others.

However, if recruiters don’t acknowledge this bias, it can guide their decisions when hiring a new employee. They could hire someone based on how they look, their hobbies, what social circles they’re in, or even which college they went to. All of these can influence a recruiter’s decision, whether they realize it or not. All of these factors won’t impact how well a candidate will do their job.

To make sure that you hire a truly diverse workplace, recruiters need to ensure that they aren’t favoring any particular group or characteristic above another. 

For most people, making decisions is an unconscious happening, and we usually learn it through beliefs and assumptions that we learned to navigate the world. But there are still some ways to combat these biases.

1. Acknowledge the Confirmation Bias

The first step in removing bias is acknowledging that there is one. Confirmation bias is another type of bias where people look for information confirming their ideas. 

For example, if an interviewer thinks that people who went to their college are the most qualified candidates, they’ll only look at positives affirming that thought. This could leave out some great candidates, but it could also make the recruiter look over candidates’ problems.

The first step is to acknowledge that this bias exists. You should take the interview and become familiar with the job candidates. To assure yourself that they’re a good candidate, you could also have them take a skills talk during the interview to ensure they know what they’re talking about.

2. Educate Your HR Team

You should spend time and resources educating your HR team on unconscious biases. When people learn that they have an unconscious bias, they can fix it. Awareness is the first step.

This will help both old and new employees learn to recognize signs of their unconscious bias showing and then take active easy to stop it. Also, tell them about the different types of preferences they might have.

There are also different types of training and assessments that people can take. These tests can tell employees what their specific biases are. You may even want to include these in the employee handbook training.

3. Rewrite Your Job Descriptions

The job listing is the first place to focus on removing bias. The job postings will give the first impression of your culture, and the language in it could deter certain groups of people from applying in the first place. 

For example, if you have masculine language in the description, women may choose not to apply for it. Masculine words might be viewed as something like “competitive,” “demanding,” or “determined.” 

However, using words like “cooperative” or “collaborative” might draw more women in. You may want to find something in the middle to attract candidates from both sides.

Different software tools will analyze your job description and highlight all of the words that might already be showing bias. Then, you can go through those words and replace them with something more neutral. 

If you haven’t done this before, start experimenting with different words and language to see what pool of applicants you end up drawing in.

4. Use an Interview Committee

After posting your job description, you’ll need to start interviewing your applicants.

When you have an interview committee with all kinds of different people, then you’re more likely to make an unbiased hiring decision. While everyone on the committee will have their own bias, the committee can help balance it out. 

However, some candidates might feel a committee interview is intimidating. It might be better to break the committee up and do one or two-person interviews rounds. After the interviews, the panel can come together and talk about what they thought of each candidate.

Encourage everyone to call out other interviewees’ biases so that you can have a fair process for each candidate. 

5. Have a Blind Review Process

If you want candidates to have a fair chance at a job, you can incorporate a blind review process. This process will make sure that you’re focusing on a candidate’s talents and qualifications rather than other characteristics that don’t affect their job. 

You can take the name off of each resume so that reviewers aren’t sure whether they are interviewing a man or a woman. They don’t know whether they’re interviewing white or African Americans. 

According to someresearch , applicants that had names that sounded black received 14% fewer interview offers.

Your application tracking software can help you store and review the resumes through a blind process. This will help you have the most relevant candidates in your interview process, and you’ll be able to hire a diverse workforce because of it. 

6. Find New Ways to Source Candidates

Do you always find job seekers on LinkedIn? Do you always hire employees from on job boards? Do you only send a job offer to employees you met at a career fair? When you only source candidates from one place, you may be giving in to a bias. 

Plus, when you source candidates from somewhere like LinkedIn, you’re more likely to pick candidates that fit whatever picture you have of the perfect candidate.

According to someresearch , recruiters are more likely to click on a man’s picture and profile than a woman’s. The survey found out that recruiters, regardless of their gender, are 13% less likely to click on a woman’s profile. The results found that recruiters are also 3% more likely to send InMail to a man than a woman.

Even if these recruiters don’t do this intentionally, it can hurt your hiring process and derail your diversity goals. So make sure that when you’re sourcing candidates, you pull from different areas and evaluate candidates based on their skills and qualifications to handle the job responsibilities.

There are also different software tools that use advanced technology to find the best candidate for the job. Without human biases, the algorithm can deliver a list of unbiased candidates directly to your inbox.

7. Take a Step Back

Taking a step back from your hiring process can give you a clearer, more objective view of where bias might be hurting you.

Look at your previous hires, favorite candidates, and feelings you had. Can you think of any biases you might have? Do you like people who have blonde hair? Do you tend to hire more men than women even if they have the same qualifications? 

Knowing these things can help you start challenging these automatic thoughts when they pop into your brain. 

Discover More Tips on Hiring Employees

Reducing unconscious bias when hiring employees is a constant battle that recruiters will have to fight each day when interviewing candidates, but it gets easier with practice.

Another great way to reduce your chance of bias is by adding more recruiters to your team. Recruiter.com is here to help with that!

We have recruiters that you can hire by the hour with no strings attached. This can be a great addition to your team, and you can also improve your diverse recruiting goals.

Contact us today to learn more!


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By Alyssa Harmon