For Hiring Teams:
Tips for Reducing Bias in the Hiring Process to Increase Diversity & Inclusion
Sabrina Deltoro, Founder & Recruiting Director
Delson Talent Consulting
March 14, 2023
Bias in the hiring process can have a significant impact on the diversity and inclusivity of an organization. By perpetuating unconscious biases, companies may exclude or disadvantage certain groups of candidates, which can limit the talent pool and potentially harm the company's performance and culture. Reducing bias in the hiring process is essential for creating a diverse and inclusive workplace.
Recruiters and hiring managers often sift through dozens, if not hundreds, of resumes and profiles a day, which requires rapidly evaluating a person and putting them into a category: yes, no, or maybe. Studies have shown that our brains rely on structural knowledge as a shortcut so we can make rapid judgements, but often that structure is ingrained with bias from societal messaging.
We've already discussed how to write job descriptions to increase the diversity of our applicant pool, but, taking this a step further, how can we remove the bias that comes along with our societal messaging and programming?
Here are a few tips to keep in mind when interviewing to reduce bias:
Don’t ping your colleague who’s already interviewed the candidate to get their take - it can prime you to have preconceived judgements that may or may not be rooted in reality.
Do take notes, word for word as much as possible! Let the candidate know you’ll be taking notes so they’re aware, and ask if they need a bio break before getting started.
Don’t take up too much time with conversation up front - spend a bit of time introducing yourself, asking the candidate about themselves, but don’t go down a rabbit hole of who you might know in common, or asking irrelevant questions about their alma mater, as it might bias you for or against the candidate if you have similar backgrounds. (Always let recruiting know ahead of time if you know the candidate personally so you can discuss together if you should be interviewing them or if a peer can step in).
If you ask a question and a red flag comes up, pause and ask further questions to probe and see what exactly the candidate means. For example, if they’re saying “we” a lot, ask them to specifically let you know which parts of the project they owned so you can understand the scope of their involvement instead of assuming.
In addition to the tips above, I have a few suggestions that will help make a more lasting change within the interview experience at your organization by reducing bias in the overall hiring process.
Use diverse sources for recruiting: Consider using a range of sources to attract a diverse pool of candidates, such as diversity job boards, professional organizations for underrepresented groups, and LinkedIn ads. This can help to expand the talent pool and increase your chances of finding qualified candidates from underrepresented groups.
Train interviewers on unconscious bias: Provide training on unconscious bias to interviewers to help them identify and overcome their own biases when evaluating candidates. This could include training on how to ask unbiased questions, as well as how to use structured interviews, which involve evaluating candidates based on specific and predetermined criteria. (If you’re curious how to set up a behavioral interview, I’ll be writing about it this Thursday.)
Use diverse interview panels: Consider training a diverse group of individuals and including a variety of people on the interview panel to help reduce bias and increase objectivity. This could include individuals from different departments, levels, and backgrounds.
Consider using diversity metrics: Consider implementing diversity metrics, such as tracking the diversity of candidates at each stage of the hiring process or setting diversity targets for hiring. This can help to increase accountability and ensure that diversity is prioritized in the hiring process.
Reducing bias in the hiring process is essential for creating a diverse and inclusive workplace. True diversity doesn’t appear at the end of a 60-90 minute-long training; in truly diverse and inclusive companies, it’s something that’s lived out day to day by every person at the organization. By reviewing your hiring process, using diverse sources for recruiting, training interviewers on unconscious bias, using diverse interview panels, and considering using diversity metrics, companies can reduce bias and potentially increase the diversity of their workforce.
"6 Ways to Reduce Unconscious Bias in the Hiring Process and Beyond” Talent intelligence
“How to reduce bias in interviews" Qualtrics