How your Recruitment Can Help Prevent Unconscious Bias
by Brian Cavataio 05/10/2021
It’s absolutely crucial today that a company is as unbiased as possible regarding the hiring process. The modern world expects a diverse and representative workplace, and for a good reason: studies have shown a strong link between workplace diversity and a company’s financial success. Differing minds with varying perspectives and a wide range of personal experiences can help build a business with the global perspective that has risen to the fore in the age of connectivity.
Money aside, it’s important that every applicant gets a fair shake at the hiring process regardless of age, race, gender, sexual orientation, religion, disability, or any other characteristic that might separate them from what you or your colleagues may unconsciously consider the ideal candidate for the job. And, yes, every employer is subject to their own unconscious biases standing in the way of finding the best possible hire. It doesn’t make you a bad person; it’s just human nature.
Fortunately, there are ways for job recruiters to avoid the hidden prejudices that creep into every hiring process. This guide will show you how to use recruitment to prevent unconscious bias and promote greater hire diversity in your workplace.
What is Unconscious Bias?
In short, unconscious bias is the set of preferences and preconceptions we carry with us that shape our decisions and opinions without noticing. It’s a product of the experiences we’ve had that have formed the way we see the world.
Unconscious bias can be tricky because most people struggle to recognize that it even exists. It’s often so deeply ingrained that it registers as an undeniable reality rather than a subjective perspective.
How Does Unconscious Bias Affect the Hiring Process?
A job recruiter’s relationship with unconscious bias is a particularly difficult one. They have to grapple with their own prejudices each time they choose a job candidate. If they’re not careful, they can wind up with a workplace lacking in social diversity and a diversity of ideas.
How Do You Avoid Bias and Promote Hire Diversity?
Find Your Own Biases
The first step to fixing any problem is identifying it. If you can figure out where your biases lie, you’ll be able to root them out during the hiring process more easily.
Some of the most common biases we tend to hold are:
Commonality Bias – We tend to get along better with people who have things in common with us. Whether it’s a hobby or a favorite sports team or our race, religion, gender, or nationality, we often give an unfair advantage to someone we see ourselves in.
Attractiveness Bias – It’s well documented that good-looking people have an easier time finding employment regardless of their qualifications. This is because our subconscious can sometimes tell us that someone with an attractive face will be more fit for a job than they may actually be.
Halo/Horn Effect – If we know something positive or negative about the applicant that has nothing to do with the job itself, we tend to consider those positive or negative feelings when assessing them as a potential hire.
Create a Standard Interview Process
If you don’t have a uniform method by which you conduct your interviews, you allow room for your biases to creep into the process. Starting up the interview by identifying common ground between you and the interviewee may seem like a good way to get to know them. Still, it also raises the odds of commonality bias getting in the way of your judgment. Ask every candidate the same questions in the same order every time.
Depending on the job you’re interviewing for, it might be best to stick to inquiring about the particular skill set required rather than assessing the candidate’s personality. You don’t have to be charismatic, funny, or interesting to be great at your job.
Make Inclusivity a Part of Your Workplace Culture
Before you even get into the hiring process, you can work toward creating a workplace that does not harbor or foster implicit bias. A company culture that regularly includes inclusivity in its communications is far less likely to shun diversity in its hiring process.
Incorporate positive ideas about inclusivity and diversity into the everyday dialogue and vocabulary. Use diversity training or mentorship programs. Create a diversity panel. There are many ways to build the foundation of an unbiased recruitment process well before a single application is even accepted.
Commit to Personal Growth and Self-Reflection
For any employer, the move towards inclusivity in the workplace begins with you. You need to do your best to reflect on the biases that shape your perspective. If you can’t seem to find any, dig deeper, they truly do exist in all of us. The more you can identify and eliminate bias in yourself, the better you’ll be able to identify and eliminate bias in your workplace.
Hire a Recruitment Agency
Putting the difficult task of avoiding implicit bias in the hiring process in the hands of an experienced and knowledgeable recruitment agency is something any employer should consider.
Today’s recruitment companies know the importance of diversity in the workplace. It’s their business to identify unconscious bias and root it out of the hiring process to create an inclusive work environment. They can get you and your company up-to-date on modern diversity standards and best practices when seeking a broad range of qualified job candidates from all walks of life.
Start Building a Diverse and Inclusive Workplace Today
Unconscious bias is a tough thing to tackle when seeking out potential employees. As much as we like to think we’re fair and objective, there’s always a deeply rooted prejudice or preference that can inadvertently find its way into your judgement process. Don’t allow that to hinder your business and damage the culture of your workplace.
If you’re looking for a recruitment company that can help you eliminate bias in the hiring process and create a diverse workplace, contact BWC Executive Group today.