Unconscious biases can easily make their way into the recruiting process at any step. They don’t call it unconscious bias for a reason. Having these biases in your process can prevent you from both hiring and attracting top talent, and they could ultimately make for a bad candidate experience. We’ve put together 7 tips to help you remove biases from your screening process.
1. Check Yourself Before You Wreck Yourself
Every person holds some kind of biases, whether unconscious or not. So before you defend yourself and say that you don’t, you need to be brutally honest with yourself. Say you’re hiring for a people-manager position and you typically think that women are more empathetic than men. Would you perhaps lean more towards thinking a woman is more qualified for the role? You need to first make yourself aware of these biases you have before you decide to move forward with any candidate.
2. Double check the wording of your job descriptions
Bias wording can easily slip into your job description without you even taking a second glance. Here’s some food for thought: Women are less likely to apply to job descriptions with sports or military analogies such as “mission critical.” Even if you don’t have access to a text-analysis platform, you can always go the old-school way of making your list and checking it twice. While reviewing your job descriptions, think about how different audiences could react to specific words or phrases.
3. Create a repository of questions and stick to them
It’s difficult to equally rate candidates if you’re using different questions for each person. You may connect more with specific candidates than others, and when you do, there’s a good chance that you’ll continue to ask follow-up questions to get to know them. This could be doing more harm than good because you may not be giving other candidates the same attention.
To mitigate this, stick to questions from a repository of standard questions. This may be the least fun way to screen candidates, but it does offer a fair way to evaluate each of them individually and to also preemptively remove biases from the screen.
4. Diversify your interview loop
When you’re setting up an interview loop, don’t just stick to people on the same team, those on the same job level, or even those in the same job function. Instead, diversify the people on the loop. There’s an inherent tendency for people to look for commonalities in others, so if your loop looks like a mirror of yourself, there’s a good chance that the person hired will also be, surprisingly, also a mirror of yourself.
5. Give candidates a test
You can ask candidates questions until our face turns blue, but as much as your probe, it’s difficult to really tell how a candidate will perform on the job. Jobs such as copywriting, design, or even software engineering take certain skills that may not be translated into words (with the exception of copywriting, of course). This speaks even more true for certain job functions where specific segments have a hard time breaking through. Take software engineering for example, which is a male-dominated job role. There are certain assumptions this specific job role isn’t one that women enter, so having candidates take a skills test can help you properly evaluate a candidate’s skills while removing that bias.
6. Build awareness about unconscious bias
Go ahead and tackle the elephant in the room. Teach recruiters, hiring managers, and interviewers about the negative implications and results of biases in the hiring process. If they don’t know best practices or are even aware that they may be doing something wrong, then how will they address the issue? Similar to the first point: only when you acknowledge the issue will look for a path to resolution.
7. Use AI for the screening process
Ultimately, there is no way to truly eliminate unconscious bias from the human recruiting process because we all have biases. The safest way to remove unconscious bias is to use AI, which can use a library of pre-approved questions to screen candidates to collect data on how a candidate’s skills and experience match to the job description.
Biases pop up in our everyday lives, and they’re difficult to remove unless you’re consciously thinking about them. However, these biases can also prevent you from hiring top talent. Use these 7 tips to create a workforce that’s both talented and diverse.