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How To Reduce Bias In Recruitment: The 4 Best Practices

Revisit the job advert

Start from the beginning, the job advert. From a candidate’s perspective, this is where the tone for the rest of the hiring process is really set.

It’s crucial that the language used within the job description is not inclined to favour one candidate over another. For example, gender-related terms, age-associated text and talk of characteristics describing the ‘ideal candidate’ are all best avoided. Take a look at this snippet from a job description that includes age-related language, associated with bias.

“We are looking for a fun, lively character who will join our fast-paced, outgoing team.”

Instead, try… “We are looking for an enthusiastic and motivated individual, who isn’t scared to get stuck in and work hard in our dynamic workplace setting.” A far more effective and bias-free option.

Consistency

Consistency is key for standardisation. This is important because it helps to develop a hiring strategy that is almost exactly the same to all those who apply.

This works by developing job application and interview questions that follow the same consensus. To achieve this, hiring teams must mutually agree on the skills and experience essential for the role. Then devise some sort of scoring system to determine which candidate best fits the job requirements. Making little room for bias.

Invest in technology

Hiring technology uses automation to assist in the standardisation process. Particularly, during candidate screening where job hopefuls are matched towards open vacancies based on how well their CV correlates with the job description.

A key benefit to this type of recruitment technology is that it can remove bias. Hiring algorithms have the capability to search, match and present a ranked search of ‘best fit’ applicants. That in most cases do not consider human external traits and characteristics irrelevant to the job role.

Blind hiring‘ relates to a person’s identifiable information being removed from the hiring process. Often this is used for the screening of applicants as it almost eliminates any room for unconscious hiring decisions being made.

Decision making

Make hiring decisions based on facts. A set hiring criteria is a must. Create a list of essential requirements that all job applicants must meet and focus on this.

A ‘gut feeling’ or a natural inclination to one potential candidate over another is often based off an unconscious bias. Just because they share similar hobbies, interests and even personality traits with the hiring manager it does not mean they’ll make a great hire. But instead will lead to a clone of ‘mini-mes’ and a lack of diversity within an organisation. Hire for skill rather than perception.

In some extreme cases, employers are swayed by subtle gestures from candidates they may be interviewing. A basket of muffins or an arrangement of flowers should not play an advantage in deciding who should get the job. Be grateful for the gift but do not let it influence the final hiring decision.

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