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5 Ways to Avoid Unconscious Bias while Hiring

Unconscious bias is something that is still unfortunately very prevalent in the hiring process, and the tricky part is that it cannot be eradicated overnight since it is something built up over years of conditioning. Despite having concrete steps in place regarding hiring diverse talent, HR professionals might fall prey to preconceived ideas that may prevent your organisation from finding that perfect candidate.

Here are 5 fool proof ways to avoid unconscious bias while hiring.

1. Have a Cross-Functional Interview Team


This is one of the best ways to remove discrimination in the hiring process. A rule of thumb is to brainstorm with the interview team regarding what to look for, including implicit bias. A good way to do this is by having a briefing session in which hiring managers discuss the skills of the candidate, and in case any prejudices appear they can be vetted out by other members of the hiring team.

2. Avoid “Gendered” Language


Many of us do not stop to consider the intrinsic gender bias of the language we use in our day to day life. Unfortunately, this language also seeps into the hiring process. While defining a particular role the gender connotations of certain words can have an immense impact on the hiring process. Studies have found that women are hesitant to apply for jobs that include “masculine” descriptions such as “confident”, “driven”, “active” etc. Though on the other hand “feminine- coded” words like “supportive”, “honest”, and “interpersonal” etc. had very little, or no effect on male applicants.

3. Structure your Interview Process


At the time of the interview it is tempting for hiring managers to go along with an unstructured approach in order to try and get to know the candidate better, but this might lead to unconscious bias creeping in. One of the best ways to avoid this from happening is by standardising the interview process and relying on a specific list of questions for all applicants. This gives recruiters a better perspective while hiring can eliminate unconscious bias.

4. Have an Interview Panel


As much as we educate ourselves about a diverse workplace, unconscious bias can still be tricky to remove completely. One of the ways to tackle this is by having a diverse interview panel to interview talent. Having a panel that comprises of a mixed set of team members across gender, age, ethnicity, socio-economic backgrounds, can greatly help diminish unconscious bias, and help your hiring team to make informed decisions.

5. Conduct a Work Sample Test


Having candidates take a sample test that includes the kind of work they will be required to do on the job is a great way to judge talent based on their skills and can help hiring managers regulate their decision making. Studies have proven that a skill test encourages the hiring team to judge the quality of a candidates work as opposed to judging them based on age, gender, personality, and even appearance.   

The bottom-line is that even though unconscious bias is very difficult to eliminate completely, but by equipping your team with the right tools you can reduce the impact of unconscious bias on the hiring process.

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