Addressing Potential Interview And Hiring Bias
Conscious biases can be easier to leave at the door during interviews, but what about more subtle biases that you may not be aware of? Identify your obvious biases, but also focus on reducing the not-so-obvious ones that are common in society, like associating or stereotyping certain roles with a specific group of people.
When we align women, for example, with careers in nursing and education, or men with C-suite roles, we may unconsciously apply these views to the interview process, narrowing down our candidate pool to only those we think should fill the role.
Iris Bohnet, the author of What Works: Gender Equality by Design, explains how the seeing is believing approach can impact diversity. Seeing is believing. If we dont see male kindergarten teachers or female engineers, we dont naturally associate women and men with those jobs, and we apply different standards .
Future Proofing Unfair Hiring Practices
As weve learned, hiring bias and workforce diversity are complicated, ever-evolving topics. Theres lots to unpack, and what weve just skimmed the surface of all the complexities surrounding recruitment bias. Theres plenty more to discuss, more opinions to gather, and more work to do.
One things for certain: we must keep the conversation going.
Well never manage to minimize bias and achieve diverse workplaces by staying silent when we notice injustices. Empower people to speak up if inappropriate comments or jokes are made throughout the hiring process. Try to recognize stereotyping and potential prejudice in yourself and those you work with. We must collectively work to create greater awareness about hiring bias so we can minimize its negative influence.
If your organization wants to be truly invested in diversity, it starts with rethinking your recruitment process.
Its time to take the leap from intention to action.
Traditional Unstructured Interviews Are Prone To Bias
Most interviews are go-with-the-flow affairs, where the interviewer explores details they think are interesting, with plenty of tangents and general chit-chat.Whilst hiring managers might believe their trusty recruiter-senses can spot talent from a mile away, this type of interviewing has actually been proven to be one of the worst predictors of actual on-the-job performance.Another common faux-pas is over-indexing on education and experience.Probing candidates on the ins and outs of their experience might seem like the most logical line of questioning, but experience are both fairly weak indicators of real-life skills. In fact, research has shown that these are two of the least effective measures of future performance.
Asking candidates about themselves may also invite interview bias. As we will explore in this article, we are much more likely to reflect positively on people with the same social background as ourselves. While it seems natural to want to build a rapport, even a single characteristic can hinder any attempts at an objective assessment.
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S To Reduce Unconscious Bias In Hiring Processes
Unconscious bias isnt something a business can eradicate overnight by passing a mandate. Even after outlining the steps that should be taken to improve the hiring process and uncover more diverse talent, implicit bias on the part of recruiters, human resources professionals and managers may derail those efforts, preventing the company from finding the best and brightest.
Below, 11 members of Forbes Coaches Council explore methods a company can use to identify and reduce the impact of the biases that people within the organization may hold, improve hiring practices and enjoy the many documented benefits of a more diverse workforce.
Forbes Coaches Council members share steps to reduce the impact of unconscious bias in the hiring process.
1. Define Diversity And Set Goals
Set business goals so that everyone knows that removing unconscious bias and building diversity is key to the bottom line. Then, define what diversity means in your company. What ethnicities, ages, genders and sexual preference groups are underrepresented? Next, set metrics to achieve at each step in your candidate pipeline: applicant funnels, interview conversion rates and acceptances. Communicate successes. – Loren Margolis, Training & Leadership Success LLC
2. Admit That Implicit Bias Exists
3. Create A Foundation Of Trust
Consider Equitable Hiring Practices
Equitable hiring practices involve providing salary transparency, not inquiring about salary history, and instituting fair chance practices. Providing salary transparency reduces the effect of gender and racial bias in negotiations. Not asking for salary history helps women, people of color, and people with disabilities close the wage gap. Finally, fair chance practices give a fair shake to candidates with criminal histories.
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Why Having Interview Biases While Hiring Is Wrong And Should Be Avoided
Having biases is never good in the professional world. It can cause many good opportunities to go unnoticed or untapped. It fails to provide equal employment opportunity to all candidates, which may also become a legal issue in some countries. Not respecting this law could cause damage to an employers branding along with loss of money.
Apart from legal consequences, interview biases can also result in less diverse workplaces. This makes the organisation less conducive and deplete the chances of growth. Not being biased in a recruitment process allows you to hire on the basis of knowledge and skills, not demographic characteristics or gender, etc.
Therefore, your employee base becomes diverse. Diversity in the workplace has been proven to have a positive impact on an organizations overall performance.
When the recruiters hire without biases, they also have a higher chance of hiring the right candidate for the job. If they judge candidates for their skills and knowledge, they leave very less scope for mismatch of candidates.
This ensures that they hire the person in one go and hence, reduce the risk of going through the entire recruitment cycle again.
Steps can be taken to minimize the impact of unconscious bias. Standardizing interview questions, keeping notes, approaching policies in an informed way, training, empathy and heightened self-awareness are few of the ways to tackle interview bias.
Nobel Prize Winner Effect
The performance of the candidate before you can impact how youâre perceived – this is known as the Nobel Prize Winner Effect.Why? Because when a Nobel Prize Winner gives a speech theyâre usually a tough act to follow. So if the preceding candidate has knocked their interview out of the park, the bar has been raised so high that any misstep is likely to be received more critically than if that person had absolutely bombed.
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I Definition And Scope Of Bias
Bias is defined as any tendency which prevents unprejudiced consideration of a question . In research, bias occurs when âsystematic error introduced into sampling or testing by selecting or encouraging one outcome or answer over othersâ. Bias can occur at any phase of research, including study design or data collection, as well as in the process of data analysis and publication . Bias is not a dichotomous variable. Interpretation of bias cannot be limited to a simple inquisition: is bias present or not? Instead, reviewers of the literature must consider the degree to which bias was prevented by proper study design and implementation. As some degree of bias is nearly always present in a published study, readers must also consider how bias might influence a study’s conclusions . provides a summary of different types of bias, when they occur, and how they might be avoided.
Major Sources of Bias in Clinical Research
Set Specific Diversity Goals
Every company should have a clear plan when it comes to diversity. You need to know your goals and work towards them incrementally.
You cannot change the whole company overnight and you should never hire the wrong person just to tick a box. But realistic goals and regular reviews will flag up any problems and areas where you need to improve.
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Acknowledge Bias In Virtual Interviews
Last , acknowledging bias in video interviews is critical for ensuring fair hiring practicesespecially in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, when so many interviews have gone virtual.
Interviewer bias doesnt disappear in the virtual interviewing settings. In fact, it can actually be amplified.Heres how a Fast Company article described the potential for bias during Zoom interviews: While the world has changed in the past few months, hiring practices havent. Insidious biases can emerge during any kind of interview, whether its over Zoom or otherwise. But during the pandemic, when people arent necessarily equipped to combat this bias, it may be particularly dangerous.
To prevent implicit biases from interfering with the fairness and outcome of a virtual interview, start with a phone conversation to break the ice and get to know candidates before meeting face to face over Zoom or a similar video interviewing tool. During phone calls,McMaster University recommends you to be mindful that there might be unforeseen interruptions during the phone call, which should not elicit implicit bias of unprofessionalism or unpreparedness on the applicant.
Then, during the actual virtual interview, you can follow the same guidelines we shared above: build a diverse shortlist ask standardized questions record the interview use interview scorecards assemble an interview panel and remain self-aware throughout the process to minimize bias as much as possible.
Blind The Resume Review Process
If you dont think you can objectively thin out resumes, do it blind. By which we mean remove the candidates name, age and other potentially discriminating information from the resumes before you go through them. This will remove any unconscious bias you may hold when you rank the resumes according to the number of relevant skills the candidate possesses, not where they were born.
Dont think you hold any biases? Recent research showed that minorities who were attuned to unconscious bias against them and whitened their resumes as a result, received twice as many calls back as those who didnt.
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Ways To Reduce Bias In The Interview Process
Decisions, decisions they happen all around us. We make 35,000 subconscious decisions according to Roberts Wesleyan College research. Not in a lifetime either in a day.
When the subconscious is involved, so is biasits only natural. Thats why the selection process and supporting applicant tracking software are key for diversity. Not only is unbiased hiring our path to a more inclusive future of work, its the best way organizations can eliminate risk of overlooking their best-fit candidates.
Read on for actionable tips on identifying and reducing hiring bias.
Check The Language In Job Descriptions
Studies have found that the language used in a job description, rather than making the job sound appealing to a broad spectrum of candidates, actually can have the adverse effect, and put people off applying for the job.
Why? By unwittingly including gender or age in the advert, you could be alienating a large swath of potential applicants.
Terms such as salesman or inadvertently assigning gender to the ideal candidate in the advert can deter applicants, as can making the job advert all about the company rather than about the candidate. This includes, for example, reams of text about what the company requires of the candidate, rather than about the skills the ideal candidate has.
Prevent bias by removing gender, age and other restrictive terms from the job advert. Dont make the job title and description so prescriptive that only a select few individuals could apply make it as inclusive as possible. At the end of the day, you can always teach someone to use your program, but you cant always teach someone how to be adaptable or be a team player.
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Find Better Predictors Of Performance
Often times we unknowingly attribute meaning to meaningless predictors. Like GPA for example. Its been proven that GPA is not a strong predictor of career excellence. Yet, many hiring teams still use it as an anchor.
In anchoring bias, an irrelevant reference point influences our decision making because it is among the first pieces of information received. Before recruiters meet with candidates they scan resumes. Eye-tracking studies show recruiters spend 7 seconds per resume, and 80% of their time is spent on name, academic info, and the previous title.
Its likely GPA is being used as an anchor by your recruiters and is influencing their decision making. How can you prevent this?
Suppress information from the recruiting process that hasnt been proven to be a strong predictor of job performance.
When Does Hiring Bias Arise
Hiring bias can occur at any stage of the talent acquisition processregardless of the selection process you choose. Some people think hiring bias only occurs when its time to make a job offer, but it usually occurs much sooner than that, and it frequently persists throughout each step.
Recruitment bias can pop up in the initial screening stages when candidates are dismissed based on information that appears on their resume. Certain names suggest or reveal a particular gender, race, and/or age bracket. Well dive deeper into this topic in the next section, but for now, understand this: if biased recruiters have a pre-set idea of what type of person they want to hire for a position , other candidates are often prematurely overlooked.
Of course, hiring bias also occurs at the interview stage.
Hiring bias can arise in any interview format:
- Phone interviews
- Video interviews
- In-person interviews
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Get Bias In Hiring Training
At any moment, our brains are receiving 11 million pieces of information.
We can only process 40 items consciously.
When it comes to building awareness of unconscious bias in hiring, Im sure your recruiting teams brains would welcome some help!
Look to a diversity and bias training organization like Paradigm. They have several offerings for diversity and bias training including events, team training, and online training.
How To Address Workplace Bias
Employers have made tremendous progress removing conscious bias from the workplace. However, implicit bias remains a problem for many organizations. The key to addressing workplace bias is to focus on unconscious bias training.
This is not just something you should do when you onboard new employees. You should schedule training sessions throughout the year that address how to reduce bias in the workplace.
Here is what bias training should accomplish:
- Learn how to increase awareness
- Develop more inclusive professional networks
- Increase exposure of unconscious bias practices
- Encourage participants to ask questions
- Form a consensus on how to reduce bias in the workplace
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Give Sample Work Assignments
This is where you test candidates for what actually matters. Give them an assignment thatâsdirectly related to what the role requiresâwhether thatâs writing a piece of code or a blog post, analyzing a data set, presenting a case for how theyâd solve a problem, and so on. Comparing assignments objectively allows you to select candidates based on merit and performanceânothing more. If you need to, anonymize test results or work samples. But weâd caution against anonymizing everything in your hiring process. Doing so gives recruiters, interviewers, and hiring managers a reason not to work on their unconscious biases. And we should all be consistently doing the workâeven as we automate and anonymize to make fairer, more equitable hiring decisions.
Less Dependency On Memory
Since the video interviews are recorded, they can be viewed later and cross-referenced multiple times. The recorded files can be shared with multiple departments within the company for opinions and collaboration. With Easyhire.me, live and panel interviews can be conducted and recorded seamlessly. This reduces dependency on memory and negates the recency bias. Suffice to say, with recorded video interviews, companies can form a more informed take on a candidates future. This is a radical shift from insights-based judgment to data-driven decisions which are less flawed and more in line with the companys end goals.
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How To Reduce Interview Bias
One of the most important decisions you will make as a hiring manager is who to hire. The cost of a bad hire adds up and can be as much as 3.5 times the annual salary for the position that you are trying to hire for. One of the most common tools used in the hiring process is the interview. Unfortunately, many interview processes are full of interview biases that can lead to bad hires, an unfair hiring process, and a lack of diversity in your organization. With over 180+ cognitive biases out there, it can be a real challenge to figure out where to start and how to reduce the impact of interview bias when hiring.
Look For Diversity And Inclusion Goals
There are several reasons why organizations should focus on establishing diverse workplaces, ranging from more creativity to more skilled employees to better retention rates. Establish diversity and inclusion goals to ensure that you are making progress towards having a diverse workforce.
It is noteworthy to mention that a study shows how workforce diversity results in significant commercial advantages. To gauge this, after completing the recruiting process, executives should measure how well they have done in relation to the diversity targets they planned to achieve.
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Bias In Performance Reviews
Bias in the performance review process can limit employees chances of being promoted and receiving raises, and it may ultimately lead them to leave your company in search of better opportunities elsewhere.
Idiosyncratic rater effect refers to the fact that people tend to rate another persons skills based on their own strengths and weaknesses. In fact, some research has shown that as much as 61% of rating is a reflection of the individual whos giving it rather than the person its supposed to be evaluating!
Central tendency error is a type of bias that occurs when using a five-point scale. Most reviewers will place whoever theyre evaluating in the middle and avoid giving a high or low score. Because everyone whos being evaluated will tend to have a score thats somewhere in the middle of the range, its not necessarily indicative of their true performance or abilities.