DEI is an important part of the workplace, benefiting not only the employee but also the company as a whole. It’s becoming ever more pressing with the emergence of new technology to understand our biases and set precedents to uphold DEI.  From setting adequate standards to creating a considerate bias reduction plan, here are insights from recruiters, executives and HR leaders on how to identify and address bias in the recruitment process.

Start With Identifying Standards

The biggest misconception we have about identifying bias within a recruiting process is that we can easily spot it while we are in it. We usually spot bias in hindsight—or at the very least, after it’s too late to do something about it.

Identify bias by identifying standards for recruiting questions and evaluation metrics. Have hiring partners give anecdotal and quantitative scores and hold them up against predetermined standards and metrics.

Joey Price
Owner & Podcast Host, Jumpstart:HR

Look at the Outcomes

If your headcount is diverse, you are likely doing something correctly. If you continue to hire a homogeneous group of people despite interviewing diverse candidates, then no matter what process you are using, you’ll see your approach is off.

This is obviously a lagging indicator since the hiring has to be completed in order to reveal bias, but after a round or two of hires, you should be able to see whether your process supports a diverse team. It’s also important to be aware of unconscious biases in the recruiting process in order to avoid them, such as confirmation bias, affect heuristic, the halo or horn effect, affinity bias, conformity bias and gender bias.

In a competitive talent landscape, we can be quick to hire for fear of losing a great candidate, but snap decisions can lead to bias—even if it isn’t intentional! We need to take time to ensure the best fit and commitment to DEI.

Amy Spurling
CEO & Founder, Compt

Create a Clear and Structured Process

It is inevitable to be influenced by bias during the hiring process; however, if you begin by assessing the required skills and values your company looks for, it will help to strengthen the process.

Refrain from using excuses such as “the individual appears more motivated” or “the applicant will work well with the team” as a justification for hiring. If the groundwork is done and you remain consistent, that should be enough.

Carlota Montoro
International Talent Consultant, Independant Consultant

Use a Multi-modal Approach

Bias can easily infiltrate any recruitment process, as all people inherently have biases. To counteract this, a multi-modal approach is crucial in order to create an unbiased hiring process.

One option is to use structured interviews, where all candidates are asked the same questions and evaluated based on predetermined criteria. This can help to reduce the influence of unconscious bias and ensure that you evaluate all candidates fairly. Having a diverse hiring panel can also help to reduce bias in the recruitment process.

Even with structured interviews and a diverse hiring panel, there may still be instances of bias. Another way to address this is to use objective measures, such as skills tests or work samples, to evaluate candidates besides interviews. You can also use blind resume reviews, where names, addresses and other personal information are removed from resumes to prevent bias based on factors such as race, gender or socioeconomic background.

Cristina Imre
Executive Coach & Mentor for Founders, Quantum Wins

Examine the Beliefs that Shape Your Company

As an anthropologist, I recommend examining the power dynamics and the cultural values and beliefs that shape the organization. These dynamics and values often result in implicit biases in the recruitment process.

To identify bias, it’s crucial to regularly review and analyze the data and metrics related to the recruitment process, including demographic information and hiring outcomes. This analysis can reveal disparities and provide insights into where biases may exist.

Once bias has been identified, it’s essential to address it proactively through training, education and implementing strategies to increase diversity and inclusiveness in the recruitment process. This can include creating more diverse interview panels, using objective and standardized evaluations and promoting a culture of open communication and inclusiveness.

Matt Artz
Business Anthropologist, Matt Artz (Consultant)

Be Mindful of the Screening Process

One way to mitigate bias in the recruitment process is to be mindful of the language and criteria used to screen and select candidates. Automated screening tools can help to identify issues such as gender-specific language, that may cause discriminatory practices.

Once any biases have been identified, it is important to develop a plan of action to address them. This could include implementing fair recruitment policies, training hiring managers on unconscious bias and introducing diversity goals and initiatives. When communicating with hiring managers about candidates, be as gender-neutral as possible. Refer to the candidate as “the candidate” rather than saying “she” or “he.”

Tawanda Johnson
HR & DEI Consultant, Sporting Smiles

Employ AI Judiciously

Unconscious bias often happens in the recruiting process as teams innately gravitate toward candidates with similar characteristics and backgrounds, rather than focusing specifically on more objective information, like job-relevant skill sets and potential for success.

Because of the powerful nature of AI algorithms, hiring teams can mitigate bias during the interview and assessment process by matching candidate skills to job-specific roles to identify the best fit. Additionally, algorithms trained with protected class data can identify previously undetected biases, and once they are identified, they can be removed from the decision-making process. This is the case, of course, as long as the AI recruiting system does not introduce its own biases; we must employ AI judiciously and sparingly to mitigate and identify bias.

Eric Sydell
EVP of Innovation, Modern Hire

Review Percentages

I’ve been fortunate to have had a lot of candid conversations over the years with a lot of employers, recruitment process outsourcing companies and recruitment advertising agencies. Many of those conversations have centered on the efforts by some employers to reduce bias in their recruitment process in order to be more inclusive and increase the diversity of their workforces. However, many of the conversations have also centered on how to increase bias in order to be more inclusive and increase the diversity of their workforces.

Bias isn’t necessarily good or bad. Bias can mean increasing your outreach to under-represented groups in order to be more inclusive. If the employer believes that the existence of bias is leading them to be less inclusive and so they want to identify and then eliminate that bias, one of the best approaches is to first identify and measure the total addressable market and then compare that to your marketing funnel at each stage from top to bottom.

Steven Rothberg
Founder & Chief Visionary Officer, College Recruiter

Introduce Multiple Perspectives

Many candidates who have interviewed with large companies such as Amazon report they had to go through “rounds” of interviews with various managers across the company. This process reduces chances of favoritism, preferential treatment or other forms of bias, so I recommend considering introducing multiple managers from different areas to do “short-round” interviews with a potential new candidate.

Amri Celeste
Interview Coach, A Celeste Coaching

Educate on How to Recognize Biases

Unconscious bias is prejudice or stereotyping that can influence decisions without conscious awareness. Several types of unconscious bias may be present during recruitment processes, such as:

  • affinity bias (the tendency to favor people similar to oneself)
  • confirmation bias (the tendency to see information that confirms one’s beliefs while ignoring evidence that contradicts them)
  • in-group bias (the tendency that people have to favor their own group above others).

To prevent unconscious bias from influencing recruitment decisions, organizations must take proactive steps. Companies should create a comprehensive hiring policy with concrete guidelines for DEI in recruitment, implement measures such as blind screening and standardized interviews during the selection process, provide DEI training on how to recognize unconscious biases and consider using outside recruiters who specialize in diversity recruiting.

Vivian Acquah
Inclusive Workplace Wellness Advocate, Amplify DEI

Identify Patterns and Develop a Bias Reduction Plan

Use blind recruitment techniques such as removing all Personally Identifiable Information (PII) from the resume screening process. Consistently use structured asynchronous video interviews with Whitebox Artificial Intelligence (AI) that is trained to be blind towards age, gender, ethnicity for a fair and objective assessment approach.

Also, use diverse interview panels and train your recruitment teams on the importance of diversity and inclusion. Once you have the data to identify any patterns or disparities in the recruitment process, develop a bias reduction plan, monitor progress and continuously review and update your recruitment process.

Sunny Saurabh
Co-Founder & CEO, Interviewer.AI

Staff Reporter

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