PROFESSIONAL SERVICES RECRUITMENT - The best appointment you'll make

International Women’s Day: How to remove unconscious bias from your hiring process

 8th Mar 2022

Today is International Women’s Day and the theme for 2022 is “Break The Bias”. Whether deliberate or unconscious, bias makes it difficult for women to move ahead.

Unconscious biases are attitudes and thoughts that are held subconsciously and affect the way we feel and think about others around us.

According to Lean In, an international community dedicated to helping women achieve their ambitions and offering its support to International Women’s Day with resources – less than a third of employees are able to recognise bias when they see it which makes it harder for women to be hired.

Here are some things that you can do to ensure a fair and inclusive hiring process that breaks the bias:

Provide bias awareness training

Reducing unconscious bias in hiring requires recruiters and hiring managers to actively train themselves against it. The first step in training is to become aware of how such biases arise and how you can identify them.

Get your team together and provide a rundown of unconscious bias, offering tips, suggestions, and tools for reviewing CVs and keeping interviews purely objective. Only by acknowledging the issue of hiring bias, can we work towards finding a solution to eliminate it.

Remove gendered wording

When it comes to crafting the perfect job description, the gender implications of words used can have a significant impact on the recruitment process.

Researchers have found that women are much less likely to apply to job descriptions that include ‘masculine-coded’ language such as “active”, “confident” and “driven.”

Over the years a number of online tools have become available that help to highlight gendered wording such as this one Totaljobs created. Using pro-diversity language will encourage a wider range of applications creating a stronger talent pool to choose from. Varying where you advertise your jobs will also help to attract a more diverse candidate pool.

Try blind hiring

Blind hiring is one way to directly remove some of the factors that might trigger unconscious bias, such as names or email addresses. Many of the early studies on unconscious bias found that the CVs of women and minorities, in particular, were more frequently overlooked because of the assumptions made about their names, despite having the same qualifications as other candidates.

For this reason, blind hiring can be a great tool to use when screening CVs in particular, because it allows you to purely evaluate a candidate’s relevant work experience and skills without being influenced by any assumptions about their background.

One of the best ways to shield your company from unconscious bias is to use software to remove age, gender, and race data during candidate sourcing.

Standardise your hiring process

Part of reducing unconscious bias involves providing each job seeker a level playing field to demonstrate their abilities. To make sure that each candidate is treated the same way, it’s important to standardise the hiring process so that every person is going through the same steps.

Standardise the interview questions and the post-interview debrief so that all evaluators follow the same framework when assessing and ranking candidates. Unstructured interviews can make it harder for hiring managers to fairly benchmark candidates, making it more likely that unconscious bias will creep in.

Have an interview panel

Establishing a panel that includes a diverse set of colleagues (in terms of gender, ethnicity, socio-economic background and age) can ensure any personal unconscious biases are mitigated and help you to consider an applicant from a wider perspective and make a more informed decision.

As you can see, unconscious bias is a prevalent problem with no simple solution. However, by understanding it and accepting its existence, we can play an active role in reducing it.

Written by Nathalie Smyth.


Currently there are no comments. Be the first to post one!

Post Comment