10 Strategies to Reduce Bias in Your Hiring Process (Webinar Recap)

February 28, 2023
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10 Strategies to Reduce Bias in Your Hiring Process

As recruiters and hiring managers, it's our job to attract and hire the best candidates for our organizations. But what happens when our hiring processes are biased? We may unknowingly miss out on top talent or worse, make decisions based on factors unrelated to a candidate's ability to perform the job.

Bias can have a profound effect on your team and ultimately, your company's culture. The good news is that we can work to reduce bias in our hiring processes and build stronger teams.

Creating a diverse, inclusive, and innovative workplace begins with unbiased hiring practices. In this webinar recap, we'll explore how bias can impact your hiring process. We'll also share 10 strategies for creating a more equitable recruitment process that helps you build stronger teams.

Unbiased Hiring Practices in Today's Job Market

Bias in hiring refers to the unconscious and conscious prejudices that can influence our decision-making during the hiring process. This bias can manifest in many forms, including race, gender, age, educational background, and more.

​​Unconscious bias can affect our decision-making, even when we don't intend it to. Unfortunately, this can result in missing out on talented candidates, a lack of diverse perspectives, and ultimately, a workplace that doesn't reflect the world we live in. This can lead to a negative impact on team dynamics, creativity, and innovation.

In today's job market, unbiased hiring practices are more important than ever. With the increasing focus on diversity, equity, and inclusion, job seekers are looking for employers who prioritize these values. An inclusive workplace not only helps us build stronger teams but also ensures that we are giving all candidates an equal opportunity to succeed.

The Negative Impact of Bias on Your Team and Company Culture

When we let bias guide our hiring decisions, we risk excluding talented candidates who would make valuable contributions to our organizations. This can lead to a lack of diversity, which can stifle innovation and hinder our ability to compete in a global marketplace.

In addition to hurting your company’s ability to innovate, bias can contribute to a hostile workplace environment in which people feel judged based on their gender, race, sexual orientation, or other characteristics. When this happens, employees may be less inclined to share their ideas or offer feedback, leading to low job satisfaction and decreased productivity.

Bias can also have a negative impact on employee turnover and engagement, leading to higher costs for training new employees and lower productivity. Ultimately, bias has the potential to affect your company’s bottom line.

On the other hand, unbiased hiring practices can help us build stronger and more diverse teams. Studies have shown that diverse teams are more creative, more productive, and more successful than homogeneous teams.

In fact, a study by McKinsey & Company showed that companies in the top quartile for diversity are 33% more likely to outperform those in the bottom quartile. Diverse teams are better at problem solving, creativity and decision making than homogeneous ones.

10 Strategies to Reduce Hiring Bias 

Provide unconscious bias training: Train your hiring team on how to recognize and avoid unconscious bias during the hiring process. Hiring managers and interviewers should understand the concept of unconscious bias, and what it means to have a diverse team.

Expand sourcing channels: Reach out to a diverse range of candidates through multiple channels, including recruiting enablement tools, diversity specific job boards, social media, and employee referrals. Underdog.io is a recruiting enablement tool that lets you connect with the most qualified diverse candidates. Learn more.

Conduct regular audits: Regularly review your hiring process to identify areas of bias and implement strategies to reduce it. Scheduled hiring audits will help identify where bias exists in your company’s hiring process and how it can be improved. Another way to audit your process is to ask candidates for feedback. Asking candidates how they felt about their experience throughout the process or if they were treated fairly can reveal opportunities for improving your hiring process.

Standardize your hiring process: Use the same interview questions and evaluation criteria for all candidates to ensure fairness. This will help you avoid any bias that comes from evaluating candidates based on their personal experiences or preferences. Ensure that everyone is held accountable for conducting fair interviews by creating checklists and using a standard rubric.

Focus on skills and qualifications: Narrowing the scope of an interview by testing for role-specific skills and competencies can help you identify how candidates will perform on the job. For example, if you have a sales position open, ask candidates about their past experiences selling a specific type of product or service. You can also ask them to role play with you so you can see how they interact with others.

Scorecard evaluations: Use a scorecard system to evaluate candidates based on objective criteria, rather than subjective opinions. A scorecard can help you compare candidates’ performance, so you don’t have to rely on interviewer opinions and memories. You can include a variety of criteria, such as experience, education and personality fit. You can also use the scorecard as a benchmark for future interviews by asking candidates to self-rate their performance and offer feedback.

Define your hiring criteria upfront: Develop a clear and specific job description that outlines the qualifications and experience required for the role. The more detailed and specific your hiring criteria, the better. This will also help you avoid making a poor hire because of a lack of communication or alignment between what’s needed for the position and what candidates believe they can offer. Be sure to include examples of specific skills on your scorecard so that interviewers can evaluate candidates objectively based on their knowledge, experience and ability to do the job.

Blind resume screening: Remove personal information such as names, addresses, and photos from resumes to eliminate unconscious bias. When you remove personal information from resumes, it’s easier to focus on the candidate’s qualifications for the job. Interviewers can also evaluate candidates objectively based on their knowledge, experience and ability to do the job. In addition, this process helps eliminate unconscious bias by removing names and photos from resumes before they reach hiring managers.

Diverse interview panels: Include people from diverse backgrounds and perspectives in your interview panel to reduce homogeneity and introduce new perspectives. A diverse panel will help you avoid groupthink and make better hiring decisions. It’s important to note that diversity isn’t just about race or gender. It also encompasses a wide range of factors, such as age, education and work experience.

Monitor your hiring metrics: Track your hiring metrics to identify areas of bias and make data-driven decisions to address them. This will help you identify any biases your team has and make changes to address them. For example, if your hiring panel tends to favor certain kinds of candidates over others, you can use this data to identify the problem and implement solutions such as rotating interviewers or adding diversity training.

Practical Questions to Audit Your Hiring Process

Auditing your hiring process can seem overwhelming at first. But once you break down the process into its component parts, it’s much easier to identify areas for improvement. To ensure that your hiring process is unbiased, ask yourself these practical questions:

  1. Are you using a variety of sourcing tools?
  2. Do your sourcing tools prioritize DEI?
  3. Are your job descriptions inclusive?
  4. Do you use blind screenings?
  5. Are you using skills tests where possible?
  6. Are you using standard scoring criteria?
  7. Do all stakeholders have a voice?
  8. Have stakeholders been trained?
  9. Has the process been recently audited?
  10. How does your current process work?
  11. Who is involved in the hiring process and when are they involved?
  12. What kinds of people do you hire most often and why?

Reducing hiring bias isn't just the right thing to do – it's also a strategic business decision. A diverse and inclusive company culture can increase employee satisfaction, boost productivity, and attract top talent. By implementing these strategies, you can create a hiring process that is fair, objective, and inclusive. Imagine the creativity and innovation that can come from a team with a diverse range of backgrounds, experiences, and perspectives! So, let's commit to making unbiased hiring a priority in our organizations. It's a win-win for everyone involved - the candidates, the company, and our society as a whole. 

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