While conversations of diversity and inclusion have exponentially increased recently, businesses have struggled with diverse representation on teams for years. This is present across all industries and at all levels in organizations. One of the many reasons this persists is because of the presence of unconscious bias in the hiring process. Unconscious bias sometimes referred to as implicit bias, shows up in everything we do. It’s actually a biological response that we’re hardwired to do. So, how do we overcome it in the hiring process?
We can put all of the efforts into recruiting a diverse candidate pool, but we will still fall short if we don’t put our personal bias in check. Here are four tactics that can immediately be put into practice to avoid unconscious bias in the hiring process:
Prior to reviewing a single resume, design a scoring matrix of the experiences and skills you need to fill the position. Cross-reference this matrix with a diverse team to ensure that the matrix itself is free from bias. When comparing resumes to the matrix, do so without looking at names or pictures of the candidates. By focusing solely on the skills and experiences listed, you can avoid being clouded–positively or negatively–by their name or what they look like.
When preparing to interview candidates, use the matrix you created to design a structured process, ensuring all candidates get asked the same questions. This can help avoid the halo/horns effect. Early in interactions with people, we make snap judgments on if we like or dislike them. This can cause us to alter our interview questions to lean more into candidates we like and away from those that we don’t. By standardizing the process, we ensure all candidates have the same opportunity to answer the same questions. For this work, we should have various perspectives in the room. Encourage everyone to take notes to allow you to objectively review the responses after the interview.
Affinity bias is our tendency to gravitate to people that have similar backgrounds, interests, or belief systems as we do. To avoid affinity bias, you first need to know what your bias is. It can differ from person to person based on what you value. This may show up by subconsciously selecting candidates that have the same alma mater, gender, or race as we do. The best way to avoid affinity bias is to ensure that you have diverse voices and perspectives included in the process.
What gets measured, gets done. Setting metrics of demographics in the recruitment cycle ensures you’re doing what is necessary for the hiring process to build a diverse pipeline. Before hosting a single interview, ensure that your candidate pool matches your diversity goals. Look at this data in the aggregate instead of looking at individual candidate demographic information.
For the above tactics to work, we must also commit to uncovering our personal biases–remember, we all have them. The best way to ensure we can work past it is to understand it. Take a few minutes to complete the Project Implicit assessment to see how unconscious bias plays out for you. Once you know where you land, you can invest in making more intentional decisions and ensuring that you don’t allow them to cloud your judgment.
With Wavely, you can chat with diverse qualified talent directly. So you have the opportunity to find the right candidate for the position.