News and Insights

Advice, news and thought leadership from our experts.

Steps to Help Avoid Unconscious Bias in Your Hiring

We live in an age that values diversity. Companies typically make an aggressive effort to foster a welcoming, inclusive culture. At the same time, these firms look to build a workforce that draws on the strengths of every community.

However, despite these efforts, unconscious bias can still seep into staffing decisions.As the name suggests, these preconceived notions can apply unnoticed pressure on the recruitment process, quietly narrowing hiring choices in ways that ultimately limit your organization’s potential.

To avoid this happening in your workplace, it’s important to hunt down unconscious bias and eliminate it. But how?

Here are several steps you can take to help eliminate unconscious bias in your hiring:

Be Aware that Unconscious Bias Exists

Bias is likely more prevalent than you think. One study found that more than 60% of people report seeing or experiencing it in their workplace. This means that a majority of employees sense preconceived notions impacting their working lives.

To eliminate this problem, you need to accept how challenging the task really is. Recognizing the impact of unconscious assumptions will help you create processes to identify them. At that point, you’ll be ready to take the necessary steps to prevent them from impacting hiring decisions.

Invest in Bias Prevention

Getting rid of preconceived notions, especially on an organizational scale, requires effort. By definition, unconscious bias isn’t obvious. It exists below the surface, requiring a process to uncover and eliminate.

As such, you should make a targeted effort to remove any bias from your recruiting procedures. Make it a stated goal, creating an environment where you can discuss the matter and implement strategies to reduce its impact. More than that, provide the necessary resources to strip your hiring process of bias.

Include More Voices

The more people involved in the hiring process, the less likely that individual bias will play a part in hiring. Of course, too much input can make the discussions unwieldy. You need to balance the need for efficiency with the added value that comes from additional perspectives.

Meanwhile, make sure that each new voice is additive. Fill out your hiring committees with employees from different backgrounds and with varying responsibilities within the company. This way, each one will bring a unique understanding of the situation, helping to spotlight any unintentional bias that pops up.

Look for Quantitative Measures

To eliminate bias, it helps to lean on objective measures. If you can find ways to rate job seekers that don’t require human judgement, you can strip some of the less-rational reactions. As such, skills tests and other quantitative measures can provide excellent tools.

However, be careful. Some nominally objective measures have their own embedded biases. Think of the well-documented cultural bias in tools like vocabulary test.

Meanwhile, just adding a number to a subjective reaction doesn’t make the situation more objective. For instance, say you run an interview and then ask each member of your hiring team to rate each candidate on a scale of one to 10. Sure, you get an “objective” score. But that number just includes all the unconscious biases that you’re hoping to eliminate.

Need Help Hiring?

A fair and open hiring process leads to a top-performing workforce. A top recruiter, like Elby Professional Services, can help you upgrade your recruiting efforts.

Contact Elby today to find the perfect candidates for your open positions.