Unconscious biases can affect every aspect of the hiring process. The fact is, we all may have perceptions of people based on certain characteristics, such as gender, age, race and ethnicity, and even whether they are differently-abled or not. These perceptions can have nothing to do with their potential job performance.
You may think, for example, that a hard-charging sales job is better given to a man, because men are more aggressive. That can, potentially, create an unconscious bias against any woman applicant for the job. Or, you may think a job requiring excellent people skills will be better served by a woman, because women are more chatty.
In either case, unconscious biases are at work. There are plenty of aggressive women and people-oriented men in the universe! The trick is to be aware of your biases, which may seem so normal that you don’t notice them – and lead you to ignore qualified people who don’t conform to your biases.
Here’s 4 ways to counteract unconscious biases.
Standardize the Interview Process
Unconscious bias can creep into the interview process. If you believe that men, for example, are more numbers-oriented, you may ask them for quantifiable, concrete examples of past contributions – but not think to ask these questions of women. Standardize the entire process, including who the interviewers are, the questions you ask, and how the answers to those questions will be evaluated.
Blind the Application Materials
Unconscious bias can come in the minute company representatives see the physical characteristics of applicants or their name. One solution is to “blind” all application materials, such as resumes and cover letters, so that names aren’t revealed. If applications include pictures or pictures on ID, such as driver’s licenses, these should be blinded as well.
Use Tests or Work Samples If Appropriate
Any hiring standard that is subjective can be a place where unconscious bias creeps in. Even references, though important, often favor one person over another. The solution is to use tests or work samples common to all applicants as an evaluation measure. That way, you will be aware who performed the best on the test and the samples among your applicant pool.
Use a Hiring Firm
Because it is easy to slip into unconscious bias, it’s can be useful to utilize a hiring firm. Hiring firms are experienced at using employment techniques that are free from bias, such as blinding and administering tests. They can assist with the interview process and develop standardized procedures. It’s a good idea to have a discussion with a hiring agency about how they can best assist you – and ensure that you hire the best candidates for the position.
Let Expert Staffing Help!
At Expert Staffing, we are seasoned in assisting employers avoid unconscious bias. We’re happy to start working with you to find a strategy that works! To learn more about talented part-time, full-time, and temporary job seekers in your area, contact us today.