07 Dec Why We Need Unbiased Hiring In 2023
Think about a time you traveled away from home and saw someone wearing, say, a shirt or hat of your favorite sports team, or in some way representing something that matters to you. You might have instantly felt a kinship or connection with that person, otherwise a total stranger to you.
That’s a very innocent example of bias: forming an opinion about someone without any other reason, or any other facts, other than having something in common. The problem comes when our biases interfere with the hiring process, giving unconscious preferential treatment to candidates who are like you and possibly passing over people who aren’t.
Here are a few ways to counteract bias in hiring practices to set your company up for more equitable success in 2023.
- Review your job descriptions. When was the last time you really looked at the job descriptions you post? Is there any language that might indicate a preference for people based on age, gender, ability or background? Even the words you chose can make a difference: “determined” and “competitive” might discourage women from applying, because they might not feel like they’re vocal enough for the position, or because women who are described in that way are often seen as more aggressive than men and that can create a difficult work environment.
- Incorporate anonymized resume reviews. If you take away a candidate’s name, where they live and the name of their educational institutions, you’re left with their work experience, qualifications and credentials. That’s all. Those are also the most important factors to consider when reviewing a resume! This method takes away the possibility of picking a candidate for further review and discussion simply because they attended the same school, or from passing up someone who might not speak English as a first language, for example.
- Add skill tests to the application and interview process. Building on the anonymous resume review, ask all candidates to complete the same skills test before moving on to the interview process. This way, you’ll have an idea of how each one understands and completes the tasks required of them in the position they’re applying for, without knowing who is responsible. It’s an apples-to-apples comparison, with all things being equal, and you’ll be able to tell who stands out based on their abilities.
- Post job descriptions and openings in more places. Here’s a situation in which the old idea of “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” is wrong and short-sighted. If you always go to the same places when looking for candidates, you’ll always get the same kind of candidate. Expanding your reach and trying to look for good people in new places brings you a wider variety of candidates, with different skills, work experiences, backgrounds and abilities, all of which can enrich your team and make your company stronger.
- Set and track diversity, equity and inclusion goals. Simply stating that you want to be more inclusive is wonderful, but how will you know if you’re actually doing the work? How will you know if you’re making a change to a more representative workforce if you’re not measuring your progress? It’s important to clearly define and state your diversity goals and set in place a system to make sure you’re progressing toward them. What those goals will mean, what they will look like and how success will be measured will be different for every company, but it’s a conversation worth having and they are goals worth working to attain.
Everyone has unconscious biases. It’s part of being human. But when it comes to adding to your team, it’s time to check those preferences at the door.
If you’re looking for additional advice on how to take bias out of your hiring practices, or if you’d like to bring new people onto your team quickly, contact LeadingEdge Personnel! We have great job candidates with the backgrounds and skills you’re looking for who are ready to get to work right away — just give us a call and we’ll handle the rest.