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5 Powerful Ways to Avoid Unconscious Bias in the Recruitment and Hiring Process

Unconscious Bias In Recruitment And Hiring

Diversity is good for business. Why? A diverse workforce has the range of viewpoints and experiences necessary to understand stakeholders’ needs so you can generate the effective, innovative solutions required to run a contemporary business successfully.
A homogenous workforce will quickly become bland, out of touch, inward-looking and complacent. You don’t have to look far across the contemporary business landscape to understand how important relevance, innovation, authenticity, and values are to stakeholders at every level of your business and a diverse workforce is central to each of these qualities. Yet, following traditional recruitment and hiring processes tend towards a preference for candidates who we perceive will be a good fit for the company culture.

How unconscious bias slips into recruitment

An over-reliance on what we perceive to be someone who will “fit in perfectly” plays to our unconscious bias for candidates who look, talk, and think like us. When we hire and recruit in this way, we exclude an enormous percentage of candidates with different backgrounds and experiences who could have significantly enriched our strategic development. To address unconscious bias, also known as subconscious bias or implicit bias, we must review what we do at each stage of the recruitment and hiring process. We’re sharing five ways to evaluate how you recruit candidates so you can build the diverse workforce essential for any modern business.

5 ways to avoid unconscious bias in the recruitment and hiring process

Let’s begin by clarifying what we mean by unconscious bias in contemporary recruitment by asking, what is unconscious or subconscious bias? Our subconscious mind holds memories of both personal and shared experiences. When our mind is overloaded, we revert to subconscious memories to help us make a decision and these memories are often based on stereotypes. When we make unconscious assumptions about candidates, we exclude quality recruits without realising, based on their name, gender, race, class, sexual orientation, and more, causing us to pick yet another candidate with the same background and experiences similar to our own.

1. Knowledge -
It’s critical for everyone to understand the business case for avoiding unconscious bias and what we mean by unconscious bias in recruitment. Although subconscious bias is not a new concept, it is weighting as an unappealing element of company practice for stakeholders has grown quickly. From customers to potential employees, investors, and strategic direction, a diverse workforce is crucial for business growth so it’s important all staff involved in recruitment understand precisely what unconscious bias is and are invested in avoiding using it during every stage of hiring.

2. Job adverts -
Begin with the language in your job adverts and where you market vacancies. Does the language and wording in your marketing and job descriptions play to a particular crowd? Is there an over-emphasis on culture? Where are you advertising? Does the placement of your ads already direct who you will appeal to?

3. Core skills pre-interview -
Place a larger focus on the core skills necessary to do the job at the pre-interview stages rather than soft skills which relate to cultural fit. That doesn’t mean soft skills aren’t important but if you hold them back as a priority you’ll have a better range of candidates on your shortlist who can do the job.

4. Rethink CV selection -
CV selection is changing. Eliminating candidates at speed based on their CV is a sure-fire way to end up with a bland workforce so why not do things differently? Many companies have already added a secondary layer of testing to post CV selection. What if you were to test first so you have an equal playing field by which to assess how well candidates match core skills? Once you’ve been shortlisted based on test results, you could look at CVs, just like Penguin Random House.

5. Review interviewers -
If you’ve done all that work but have the job interviews conducted by a set of employees who tend to think the same and use a standardised set of traditional questions – it will all be for nothing. Review who conducts interviews so you have a range of people who will think from different perspectives and use questions that lean more towards core skills rather than culture.

Find the diverse range of top candidates you need today from 24 Seven, a global recruitment agency that puts your needs first. Call us today on 0207 534 9960 or learn more about our personalised creative, marketing, and tech recruitment services.