Five Tips on Removing Unconscious Bias From Your Hiring Process

Jade Hynes
August 4, 2023

Have you ever heard of the term “unconscious bias”? Regardless of how you answer that question, unconscious bias is something that affects all of us and we all hold the social and ethical responsibility to try to recognize and eliminate it where we can.  Unconscious bias can impact your business, specifically your HR processes.  

What is Unconscious Bias? 

Unconscious bias is your unintentional and sometimes automatic response to a situation that influences your perception, attitude, and behavior. Unconscious bias is often coupled with unawareness. It is typically created through having a lack of information leading you to make uninformed decisions. An unconscious bias has the ability to shift into many different forms. Some examples of where unconscious bias manifests are social, racial, age, or gender biases. Unconscious bias affects how you treat others. When it manifests at work, unconscious bias has impacts on how you treat job candidates and employees which may lead to unfair or discriminatory hiring practices and employee treatment. Unsure how to tackle this issue? Keep reading.

Five Ways to Help Remove Unconscious Bias From Your Hiring Process 

Unconscious bias can take a toll on your recruitment process. Below we’ll discuss five ways to help remove unconscious bias from your hiring process. Follow these best practices to ensure a seamless and compliant hiring process.

1. Create a Structured Interview Process 

Create a structured interview process. By creating a structured interview process, you focus on job-specific data, transferable skills, and expected behavior rather than subjective judgments. To create a structured interview process, write down the goals of your interview process, evaluate the actions your company currently takes, and adjust accordingly. Consider how many steps are in your process, what type of questions you ask, and what data you use to measure the success of maintaining diversity initiatives, equity, and inclusion in your interview process.

2. Remove Gendered Wording 

Words are powerful, so be mindful of how gendered wording impacts your goal of removing unconscious bias from your hiring process. Words linked to a particular gender, specifically male or female, often based on stereotypes is referred to as “gender coding”. Gender coding can be causing an issue when it comes to engaging a diverse group of candidates. For example, instead of using words like “strong” or “dominant,” opt for terms like “collaborative” or “efficient” to emphasize the skills and behaviors necessary for the role.

3. Use Behavioral Interviewing Techniques

Managers have a strong impact on the application pool so one of the best ways to combat unconscious bias is by using behavioral interviewing in your interview process. Behavioral interviewing focuses on candidate’s past experiences and behaviors, to provide insights into how they might perform in the future. Behavioral Interviewing, by design, reduces bias by evaluating candidates on objective, job-specific criteria. By asking candidates to provide specific examples from their previous experiences, you minimize the risk profile of creating assumptions or stereotypes. 

4. Make Data-Driven Decisions 

Once you’ve put in the work to create a structured interview process, updated your job descriptions, and incorporated behavioral interviewing in your process, collect and analyze your data from the hiring process to rank candidates objectively. Evaluate the process in its entirety to understand if you’ve met your goals. This allows you to make a fairer decision that aligns with your company’s commitment to eliminating bias.

5. Work With an HR Consultant to Refine Your Hiring Process 

An HR consultant can build your new hiring process. Considering consultants aren’t internal to your business, they have an objective view of current practices. Their focus is on the success of your business and innovating on your processes, not on internal politics. If you’re interested in learning more about recruitment process outsourcing or any of our other available HR services, please contact us today.

Photo by: Nothing Ahead

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