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Four Tips to Avoid Unconscious Bias in Your Hiring Process

unconscious bias

Everyone has biases. We’re all socialized in a world that values certain groups of people over others, and these messages can seep into our subconscious without us realizing. That’s why it’s so important to work harder to spot our own biases. It can be challenging – even painful – to uncover them. But taking an honest look at our blind spots is the first step towards change.

For recruiters and other professionals responsible for hiring employees, recognizing your biases is especially important. You’re in a powerful position. It’s up to you to evaluate job candidates fairly and accurately – which is tough to do if you’re not aware of the unconscious biases that may be lurking in the back of your brain.

Here are four tips to help minimize bias in your hiring process:

1. Get trained

It’s impossible to reduce bias if you don’t have a solid understanding of what it is. So start by educating yourself and your team about what hiring prejudice is and how it works. You may have an in-house team that can bring this training to your department. If not, consider hiring someone outside your company.

2. Delete names from application review

Unfortunately, research shows review teams evaluate resumes differently when candidates’ names are present – if those names are indicative of the candidates’ race, ethnicity, or gender. To remove this possibility from your review process, consider using a software program that washes names from resumes. This’ll help your review team take a more in-depth, honest look at applicants’ credentials, instead of letting surface-level judgments influence their assessment.

3. Give a work sample test

Sample tests that measure the kinds of skills candidates will need to succeed on the job are a good indicator of future performance. They’re also a smart way to level the playing field by offering all applicants a standardized evaluation. This approach gives you a concrete, measurable way to evaluate candidates’ aptitude.

4. Standardize interviews

Studies show that unstructured interviews – where, instead of asking pre-determined questions, interviewers try to gauge a candidate’s expertise through casual conversation – aren’t reliable for predicting job success. Instead, interviewers should compile a standardized set of questions to ask each candidate. This will ensure you’re using interview time smartly. It’ll also help keep the conversation on-topic, rather than veering off into unrelated discussions where certain candidates may have an unfair advantage.

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