Eliminating hiring bias

September 28, 2016

Despite the significant advantages of diversity in the workplace,unconscious and hidden biases still exist in the hiring process.

Even the most open-minded individuals have unconscious biases that may affect their decision-making when hiring employees. However, acknowledging these biases is the first step to ensuring hiring efforts are neutral. Here are five ways employers can remove bias when deciding between candidates:

Ask for work samples
Where applicable, asking a candidate to submit work samples may predict how well they will perform based off past performance and skills. Using past work samples allows the interviewer to judge the candidate based on their work rather than factors such as gender, race, appearance, age and personality.

Use structured interviews
Structured interviews design interview questions based on job-related skills and are standardised for all candidates. For example, questions may include “describe a situation  where you have participated in a team” or “tell me about an obstacle you were able to overcome in the past.” Structured interviews use the same set of questions and are asked in exactly the same way and order to each candidate. This is in contrast to unstructured interviews which tend to flow like a conversation and are generally subjective.

Collaborative interviewing
Collaborative interviewing involves using multiple team members to interview candidates. This type of interviewing helps to eliminate unconscious bias and reduce human error. Altering the interview process to include more interviewers provides a diverse range of opinions and increases the likelihood that the new hire will be a good fit.

Create an interview scorecard
An interview scorecard evaluates the qualifications and suitability of candidates based on quantitative measures, which can help level the playing field for candidates. An interview scorecard uses applicable criteria such as technical ability, leadership skills etc, and a ratings system to assess each criterion, i.e 1-5. Interview scorecards can be used to  compare results between interviewers as some interviewers may be lenient on some criteria and too harsh on others.

Use gender-neutral job descriptions
“Gender-coded” language in job descriptions may unintentionally lean toward one gender than another. If your job description lists non-essential skills and qualifications, or uses masculine words such as “ambitious” or “assertive,” candidates may be deterred from applying as they do not consider themselves a good fit. When writing job descriptions, separate the essential and desired qualifications, and focus on the behaviours needed to perform the role rather than personality traits.

For more information, contact us at Leenane Templeton on 02 4926 2300 or email success@leenanetempleton.com.au

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