5 Ways to Avoid Hiring Bias

A 2014 research paper spelled it out in a compelling way for corporations: A diverse workforce is a more productive workforce. From gender and culture to race and social characteristics, having a wide-ranging diversity of experiences representing your company makes it better. However, people, being people, are prone to assumptions that affect the hiring process. Hiring biases crop up in all kinds of ways, including ways that are hidden and unexpected. This article will share five important ways for your organization to avoid hiring biases while finding the right candidates for the job.

  1. Talk About Hiring Biases
    Discussing hiring biases pinpoints even the most unconscious ways we trip ourselves in this area. Teaching recruiting teams what is expected around diversity and inclusion starts with a discussion about hiring biases and how to overcome them. Hiring biases often are completely unconscious, so discussing how they crop up, their effect, and how to overcome them is a good first step. Only by naming biases can we overcome them.
  2. Set Your Hiring Goals
    If you want to increase your diversity and reduce your hiring biases, set some goals. Define where you want to diversify your staff. For example, you may want to hire more African Americans and/or older workers who may be underrepresented on your team. You may not have enough women in leadership roles or you maybe want to increase promotions internally and move more loyal employees up the chain. No matter your goals, clarify what they are, write them down, and measure your success.
  3. Look at Your Job Description Language
    Are your job descriptions turning away more candidates than they attract? Research shows that there is both blatant bias in job description language and implicit. Does your ad have unconscious stereotypes written in? Are the ads written in a way that would deter women from applying? Does it talk in a way that suggests only young people need to apply? Are you using titles like “Journeyman Electrician” or “Master/Slave” terminology applied to database job descriptions? What about “Salesman?” It’s easy to slip up in this area, so be careful to police what you write before posting.
  4. Consider Blinding Resumes
    One study found that when African American candidates use a practice known as “résumé whitening”, concealing or downplaying racial cues, they received twice as many callbacks. Are assumptions creeping into your resume reviews? Are you more likely to assume a candidate named “Muhammed” will speak English less clearly than a candidate named, “Tony?” If you’re afraid your recruiters can’t be impartial, considering numbering the resumes instead of listing names. That way your review team can rank the applicants by merit and not by their assumptions.
  5. Add Diversity into the Interview Process
    Consider adding a diverse mix of employees into your hiring process. This shows candidates your commitment to hiring all kinds of qualified people. It will also improve your candidate selection process by pooling a variety of perspectives on the candidate.

Blackstone Talent Group is strongly committed to diversity and inclusion in the hiring process. Talk with our team and let us help you meet your hiring goals.

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