Unconscious bias is one of the biggest obstacles recruiters face when looking for the best possible talent. It’s also one of the toughest ones to overcome. However, some companies have recognized this problem and are working hard on addressing it. Here are 2 examples of such companies, and the methods they are using to handle unconscious bias.
Unconscious Bias: Definition and Dangers
Unconscious bias refers to recruiters forming opinions about candidates based only on first impressions. The way someone looks, dresses, the town they’re from or the school they went to could all affect your judgment without even thinking about it.
One of the most common forms of unconscious bias is the so-called “hiring for culture.” The sentiment behind this approach isn’t bad in itself: employers are simply looking for candidates that will easily fit into the existing company culture. What this leads to, however, is most often going with candidates that look, think, and work the same as all your other employees. This can result in an unintentional lack of diversity, which can hinder productivity and not allow your company to reach its full potential.
How Companies Handle Unconscious Bias
As their name would suggest, unconscious biases can be hard to remove since we tend not to think about them during the hiring process. However, there are ways to reduce bias when considering new candidates. Here are 2 companies that have taken concrete steps towards addressing unconscious bias:
For a long time now, there’s been talk about AI eliminating jobs, but it can also be used to level the playing field when it comes to hiring. Dialpad uses it to fight unconscious bias during the recruitment process.
Instead of using a notetaker during the interview stage, Dialpad uses AI-driven speech recognition and real-time transcription. This helps in two major ways. First, it eliminates the need for note-taking, freeing all the members of the hiring team to ask questions and offer opinions. This way, no one is excluded from the conversation, and everyone can participate and add value.
Second, AI speech recognition can offer a much more accurate assessment of candidate personality and behavior. Since AI can’t form impressions, it’s free of bias and produces much better results.
Being a consumer goods company with a wide range of customers, Unilever felt they needed to update their hiring process to reflect this. They went about this in 3 distinct ways.
The first step was to forgo the traditional method of hiring by touring campuses. Instead, they increased their talent pool by asking all interested candidates to submit their LinkedIn profiles instead. The candidates would then go on to play a series of games using the Pymetrics platform. These games use neuroscientific principles and artificial intelligence and are designed to rate candidates’ soft skills. Finally, a shortlist of candidates were invited to video interviews that used similar AI analysis methods like in the case of Dialpad. The data points created by the AI can then be used to predict candidate performance.
Once this process is done, recruiters are left with only the most promising candidates. These candidates go on to have job auditions, where recruiters can get to know them and find out how well the candidates will fit into their future roles.
The first step to overcoming unconscious bias in recruiting is becoming conscious it’s there. Only then can you start laying the foundation for a more equal and diverse hiring process. You can use the methods in the examples above to guide you through this. From supporting existing workers and creating a welcoming environment by providing great benefits, to adopting innovative approaches to recruiting, these five companies are committing to tackling unconscious bias, one candidate at a time.