6 Tips to Reduce Hiring Biases

No matter where you are in your career journey, there may come a time when you have to interview an applicant for your company. I know — it sounds scary. We are so used to being interviewed that we seldom stop and think about what it’s like on the other side. How do we interview people fairly and eliminate conscious and unconscious bias? The folks at vidcruiter.com put together a helpful resource entitled “Types of Hiring Biases and How to Reduce Them“.

The resource begins by defining hiring bias as “different, unfair standards . . . applied when evaluating people to hire (or promote) within a company or organization.” These “different, unfair standards” can take the form of conscious and unconscious bias. Conscious bias is one that you can recognize. It’s your own “preference or dislike for certain kinds of individuals.” Unconscious bias is a bias that you cannot recognize within yourself. VidCruiter writes, “it’s what happens when you ‘trust your gut’ or ‘follow your intuition,’ . . . the beliefs stem from accepted stereotypes and/or personal past experiences.” There are many dangers in letting bias affect your hiring process, but thankfully there are ways to curb it.

  1. The first way is to become a more culturally aware citizen. Biases can be greatly reduced through reading, conversation, and attending events relevant to experiences and communities different from your own. Do not think, however, that one book, conversation, or event will teach all that you need to know about one community. One community can be infinitely diverse, and it is always unfair to put people into a “box.” Rather, consistently educate yourself on the diversity that exists within each community.*
  2. The second way is to “offer awareness training.” Have workshops where each employee can identify their own biases and ways they may commit microaggressions against certain groups. Encourage employees to consider how they will suppress these biases when interviewing candidates.
  3. The third way is to “ask candidates to perform skill tests,” particularly before the interview. Skill tests should “relate directly to the type of tasks involved in the day-to-day job, allowing the candidate to prove that they have what it takes to succeed in the position.” Such an objective tool should also set the tone for an objective interview.
  4. The fourth way is to “involve multiple people in the hiring process—and document their ratings.” In other words, a diverse hiring committee is a good hiring committee. “Getting multiple peoples’ opinions helps mitigate the possibility of similarity bias,” writes VidCruiter. Furthermore, documenting ratings can help your company in the long run by spotting trends that may warrant investigation
  5. The fifth way is to “create standardized questions.” In general, it’s good to standardize everything in interviews so that each candidate essentially gets the same experience.
  6. The sixth way, similar to the fifth, is to “establish fair, repeatable scoring criteria.” Having “the same scoring baseline” will set the ground rules for each candidate being assessed fairly in a consistent manner.

The full resource also discusses specific biases pertaining to race, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, and other identities, as well as why diversity in the workplace is essential. Access it here.

* For more on reducing your unconscious bias, click here.

By Erik Zawodniak
Erik Zawodniak Erik Zawodniak