Avoid Hiring Bias with These 3 Tips

hiring bias

We’re all human.

When we meet new people, we instantly form an impression of whether we like them; we may even make assumptions about their intelligence or trustworthiness. In our personal lives, these judgments may prove inconsequential. But in the hiring process, snap decisions and unconscious biases can:

  • knock great candidates out of contention.
  • undermine culture, diversity, and innovation.
  • and even land you in legal hot water.

How can you avoid hiring bias?

Here are three tips that will help:

1. Make sure everyone on your team understands what hiring bias is.

In general, bias refers to an inclination or prejudice for or against a person, group, or thing. In hiring, unintentional bias typically comes in two forms:

  • Unconscious bias: stereotypes or inclinations that form outside of your conscious awareness.
  • Mirror bias: a preference for people who seem like you in some way.

Train anyone involved in your recruiting, interviewing, and hiring decision-making processes about how and why these types of bias occur – and the impact they can make. Awareness is the first step in prevention.

2. Follow fair recruiting and candidate intake practices.

  • Implement best practices from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission to widen and diversify your candidate pool.
  • Use inclusive language and images. Scrutinize your language in job postings and on your website to eliminate unintentionally exclusionary verbiage. Instead, use framing that welcomes people of diverse genders and/or backgrounds to apply. Likewise, be sure that any imagery you use reflects a diverse workplace – so that when great candidates of all types learn about your organization, they see people who look like them.
  • Diversify your recruiting tools to “cast a wider net” and reach a broader group of potential applicants.
  • Scrub out identifying information that could contribute to bias. Consider using a system that assigns a unique identifier to an application or resume, as opposed to a name.
  • Use standardized rubrics, metrics and/or score sheets to keep resume screening focused on valid, relevant selection factors.

3. Formalize interviewer training and standardize interview processes.

  • Properly train interviewers to achieve better outcomes. Interviewing styles vary dramatically, depending upon an individual’s personality, confidence, and amount of experience. Require all interviewers to undergo formal training (e.g., proper interview etiquette, probing techniques) to “level the playing field” and minimize the impact of hidden biases.
  • Standardize interview processes. The more objective and standardized your processes are, the greater your likelihood of minimizing biases. Improve consistency by requiring all interviewers to ask the same basic questions of all candidates. Furthermore, require interviewers to back-up impressions, ratings, and subjective statements with data and/or examples. Remind everyone involved in the process to wait to make judgments about applicants until after the entire interview phase is complete – and then make decisions as a group.

Want to make better hires, every time?

Trust PrideStaff with your search. Using industry-leading best-practices, professionally trained interviewers, and skills-specific testing, our proprietary On Target fulfillment process quickly delivers candidates with the right skills, attitude, and culture fit. Contact your local PrideStaff office today to learn more.