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How to train interviewers on Unconscious Bias and promote Diversity & Inclusion

  • By Ankush Jhawar
  • March 23, 2023
  • 4 mins read
How to train interviewers on Unconscious Bias and promote Diversity & Inclusion
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    Several companies wish to foster an inclusive and diverse culture, but is there a possibility of unconscious bias hindering the way? Unconscious biases are inherent human nature. However, when it comes to recruiting a diverse workforce, it can be a hindrance to the company. Thus, companies all over the globe are transforming technology in order to boost the diversity of their workforce in order to gather the best talent for business by using bias awareness training and inclusive interviewing.

    Francesca Gino, a professor at Harvard Business School says that unconscious biases have a critical and “problematic” effect on our judgement. Left unchecked, biases may also mould a company’s culture. For example, if we do not witness male nurses or female engineers, then we would not naturally associate men and women with these job roles. Inclusive interviewing, diversity and inclusion training are therefore a must in all organisations for hiring managers. Hence, recruiting teams and hiring managers need to learn to de-bias their practices and procedures. 

    Read also: DEI (Diversity, Equality, Inclusion) and its importance in the workplace

    Research shows us that the recruitment process in most companies is unfair and biased. Unconscious biases of sexism, ageism, racism etc seep in and play a big role in who gets hired and who doesn’t. However, what is important is that there are steps you can follow to recognise and reduce these biases. Below are a few steps to provide guidance and ensure hiring managers understand their unconscious biases and promote diversity and inclusion:

    1.Train them to use structured interviews:

    Unstructured interviews, which considerably lack defined questions and wherein a candidate’s experience are meant to organically unravel through conversation are mostly unreliable for job success. However, structured interviews with their defined questions helps in the standardisation of the interview process.  This can greatly help in the process of inclusive interviewing.

    This also helps in minimising the bias by giving the employers a chance to focus on more specific factors that have a major/direct impact on job performance. Moreover, an interview scorecard can also be used to grade the candidates responses on a predetermined scale. This makes the interview a reliable, independent data point which helps in preventing unconscious bias.

    BarRaiser interview assistant helps enable structured interviews in the process. It conducts effortless structured interviews with instructions, sample questions, notes and real time guidance to help you stay on the course. Using BarRaiser interview assistant helps in candidate interaction so the hiring manager can listen with intent and conduct a good quality interview and provide a great candidate experience.

    2.Seek to understand

    When it comes to hiring, it is important to start with thinking broadly about the plethora of ways to standardise the process. It is integral to understand how hiring prejudices operate at a grass root level. It is recommended to look into providing hiring managers with education and training on the topic. Thus, the first step is awareness training. It is necessary to unravel the unconscious bias as it allows the employees to recognise that they must hire based on pure merit and not let any prejudices seep in. Thus, bias awareness training is a must.

    3.Set goals for DEI (Diversity, Equality, Inclusion)

    Diversity goals are integral to set as they make the issue come to the forefront and centre in organisations. It is necessary to communicate these goals to the hiring managers to ensure that it is on the forefront. However, it is necessary to be sensitive to the ideas of others when you do so. It can sometimes prove controversial for companies as it can lead to backlash from traditionally advantaged groups. However, diversity in the workforce has significant benefits as it brings different perspectives and experiences into play. Diversity and inclusivity interviewing can help mitigate the unconscious biases. Thus, setting diversity goals and teaching these goals to the hiring managers encourages those who are involved in the process of hiring and other parts of the company to keep equality and diversity at the top of their mind.

    4.Teach them to make data-driven decisions

    Making data-driven decisions at every stage of the recruitment process is an objective way to hire talent. Data-driven decisions help shift the focus to tangible facts from unconscious bias. It also increases diversity in the recruiting process, helps in the optimisation based on metrics and numbers and thus overall improves the quality of recruitment. Recruitment technology should be used by the hiring managers to collect, analyse and report on every small chunk of data for the purpose of objective assessment which leaves no room for biases. This further the process of diversity and inclusion training.

    5.Teach them to avoid probing personal details

    Many organisations have shifted their approach to shortlisting candidates which includes not revealing the candidates personal details. It is integral to train hiring managers into not probing into personal information and details such as sexual orientation unless the candidate is comfortable speaking about it. This is because it could lead to the unintentional hurting of their sentiments. Instead, focus on the company culture and the job role for the candidate. 

    Ultimately, escaping unconscious biases is extremely difficult. However, equipping your organisation with the correct tools and techniques can significantly eliminate it from the recruitment process. Diversity is necessary in creating an organsation that fosters innovation and problem-solving. Bias awareness training, inclusive interviewing and diversity training can do wonders for your recruitment process. BarRaiser recognises the importance of diversity and inclusion and thus using the above steps can help you eliminate biases in your organisation.

    Read also:

    5 tips for recruiting diverse candidates in your company

    How to reduce recency bias in interviews?

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