5 steps to de-bias the hiring process

1 Anonymised CV assessment

A focus on the skills, qualities, values, and ambitions of candidates instead of demographics such as education, gender, age, or place of birth will help build a talent pool with more candidates relevant for the actual job. Several studies have also established how many unconscious conclusions we draw upon a name or the color of a face. To systematically use tech solutions such as Exparang, which enables not only anonymized CVs but also “blind” candidate sourcing you will level the playfield as well as increase quality in candidate-job matches.

2 Structured interviews

According to hbr.com, managers rank unstructured interviews as the most effective tool for candidate assessment while research shows that these are in fact among the worst predictors of on-the-job performance. To pull out a formal sheet of competency-based questions in a first meeting might feel awkward at first but applying structure to interviews where every candidate gets to answer the same questions will minimize bias and help to evaluate future job performance. Ideally, the interviewer uses a scorecard for each candidate to grade answers and relevance based on skills- and value-based questions.

3 Make the shortlist longer

Sadly, hiring is often a reactive process based on an urgent need. When we’re in a rush we try to cut corners. Cutting corners in recruitment often means doing a fast and informal shortlist — you have an idea of what the successful candidate looks like, many are already in your closest network, and you have some recommendations from friends you trust, that must be a perfect list, right?! Not really, the informal shortlist is proven to pose a great barrier to diverse hiring since our unconscious bias leads us to think of candidates similar to their predecessors. In male-dominated industries and leadership roles, the outcome of such bias is obvious. Though, setting a routine to always add a few more names to a shortlist increases the chances of gender diversity and reduces the risk of dismissing candidates just because they didn’t come to mind first.

4 Diverse hiring panel

The diversity & inclusion business case highlights the fact that diverse teams often make better and less biased decisions. This is true for hiring decisions too. Involving panel members from different areas and levels of the business will increase the likelihood of quality-hire consistency across the organization.

5 Check reality through data

Without all information, we tend to draw our own conclusions. For example, an HR Director at a large construction company blamed the lack of applications from female engineers on her belief that it was predominantly male students going through engineering programs. When in fact graduation data from universities showed that the numbers are gender-balanced. Newly graduated women just didn’t find the company attractive. The next question from the HR Director was more relevant “how can we reach and convert these qualified women?”



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