Unconscious bias is, by definition, unconscious. You don’t even realize you’re doing it. But it creeps into hiring processes all the time. The lack of diversity impacts a lot of things in the workplace, but few people are willing to take a step back and look at how their decisions might be the cause of these hiring issues. It goes beyond things you observe, such as race or gender. Hiring managers will often inject their own biases based on the personality they want to hire or other characteristics that don’t necessarily impact someone’s ability to perform the job. How can you avoid unconscious bias? Here are five steps you can take today.
Use Diverse Channels
When you use the same source over and over again, you’re going to find the same kinds of people every time. By diversifying your recruiting networks, you will also diversify the people who apply. If you primarily hire through job boards, for example, try a social media campaign. If you use referrals, do outreach in local communities instead.
Structure Your Interview Process
An unstructured interview is a perfect environment for unconscious bias. You might think you’re going with your gut when you decide on who to hire, but this also means you’re not comparing apples to apples. Create a checklist to help you and anyone who interviews candidates judge by the same criteria every time.
Many hiring managers reference the idea of “culture fit” when hiring. They believe that new employees need to fit in with the current staff. And while that’s generally true, instead of trying to find someone who fits the same mold, find people who have something to offer that your current team is currently lacking. What can they bring to the table that will add a fresh perspective or new skills to the job?
Diversity goals are not the enemy. By knowing what your target is, you know the steps you need to take in increase the chances of hiring people with a greater variety of backgrounds. Look at your current departments. How can you improve diversity in those areas? Also, be sure to hire for leadership positions because people can’t have a voice at your company if they don’t get a seat at the table.
Skills Test or Samples
Don’t let every part of your decision be based on chance. Allow candidates to do skills testing or submit samples of their work so you can judge fairly. It’s also important that you judge these blindly, so you don’t’ allow unconscious bias to influence your decision. Use this information along with the other criteria to improve your overall hiring process.