When asked, “Is there bias in your hiring process?” most companies would like to answer with a resounding NO! Unfortunately, the reality isn’t that simple. Unconscious bias rears its ugly head in many areas of our lives. Here’s how to identify and eliminate it.
Steps to Reduce Bias in Your Hiring Process
Recognize Bias Exists
Despite our best intentions, humans are biologically hardwired with biases. “Undoing these behaviors requires moving from a fixed mindset… to one of openness and growth, where we can deeply understand, challenge, and confront our personal biases.” (Harvard Business Review, 2019) Here are a few biases that probably are impacting your hiring process.
- Confirmation Bias
When you advertised for the new accounting position, you pictured a middle-aged man. Your mind decides this passing image should be true. So, you automatically look for reasons TO hire (or confirm) everyone who fits this profile and reasons NOT TO hire everyone who doesn’t. Ultimately, confirmation bias tricks you into wishful thinking rather than decisions based on fact.
- Halo Effect
A well-dressed woman shows up for an interview. You’re impressed with her appearance, so you think she must also be intelligent, creative, and great with customers. You gave her a halo because you assumed one positive trait automatically lead to other desirable qualities. In another variation, the Horn Effect, the opposite happens. You form an overall undesirable opinion of a person (or give them horns) based on one negative trait.
- Affinity Bias
As you’re sorting through resumes, you come across an applicant who went to the same high school and college as you. And they played field hockey… just like you. This person MUST be a great candidate! However, you’ve put affinity before qualifications. In other words, we tend to have a more favorable opinion of people like us.
Institute Blind Resume Reviews
One of the best ways to eliminate hiring bias is to reduce exposure to information that could unconsciously sway our opinions. Although resumes seem harmless, they can be a minefield. For example, one study showed names like Emily and Greg received 50 percent more interview requests than names like Lakisha and Jamal. (CNBC, 2018) Luckily, advances in recruiting software make blind resume reviews easier than ever before. You can remove unnecessary information such as names, addresses, and graduation years, and therefore rank candidates strictly on their qualifications.
Make Work Sample Tests Part of the Interview Process
It’s more difficult for biases to get in the way when you see someone performing a job extremely well or quite poorly. As a result, many companies are minimizing the traditional interview process and switching over to work sample tests, experiential interviews, and even job auditions. Plus, as a bonus, data indicates these strategies produce better hiring results. (SHRM, 2018)
Is Your Company Struggling to Reduce Bias in Your Hiring Process?
At BOS Staffing, we understand. Eliminate hiring bias and identifying the best candidates is a challenge. That’s why our Atlanta-based recruiters use nationally quantified skills assessments, so you KNOW you’ll be matched with the most qualified people. Learn more about the advantages of partnering with BOS Staffing today!