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8 Ways To Reduce Bias In Your Interview Process

  • By Manav Jain
  • January 2, 2023
  • 6 mins read
Reduce unconscious bias in interviews for diverse workplace
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    Diversity and inclusion are not just a word that the majority of organizations are trying to practice and implement. It has a direct impact on the company’s work culture. However, when hiring decisions are biased, it becomes a chaotic scenario for an organization to manage. Research published by The Center for Talent Innovation suggests that unconscious biases have cost U.S. businesses $6 billion annually due to a decrease in productivity and talent. This is a whopping loss just because hiring managers had some sort of bias during the interview of the candidate. So, how can organizations ensure that hiring decisions are not biased? Let’s take a deep dive into the ways to reduce bias in your interview process.

    A report published by Glassdoor in 2017 states that at least 75% of job seekers believe that unconscious bias is a problem in the hiring process. Bias encourages hiring managers to make decisions in the best interests of a certain set of groups and ignore the other; this is what we would like to call a toxic place. In this kind of organization, hiring managers are not even aware when they are biased toward anyone. 

    Also Read: How AI-Driven Interview Co-Pilot is Next Big Thing For Job Interviews

    Let’s understand the first thing: what is unconscious bias?

    Before reducing bias in your interview process, we first need to understand what unconscious biases are and how they are being formed in an organizational hierarchy. If we put it in a nutshell, then unconscious bias refers to preconceived notions about a person based on their gender identity, race, religion, appearance, ability, national origin, age, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, etc. These are biases that you don’t see directly, as it is deep-rooted within the psychological tendency of the person. 

    A more popular example of such biases would be believing that a woman employee might not be a good fit for an on-filed job or may be much more suitable for a desk job. These are something called implicit biases and can prevent applicants from obtaining fair employment opportunities. Hence, it is highly important to reduce such bias in your interview process.

    Also Read: Overcoming Talent Acquisition Challenges

    The worst thing about unconscious bias is that people don’t realize how their assumptions affect their job opportunities. A study published by Pompeu Fabra University states that women are 30% less likely to be hired for a job than equally qualified men with the same resume. This data suggests that there is a prejudice in the hiring process for women. In addition, it also prevents global companies from gathering diverse perspectives and hiring foreign workers. This will impact the company, and we might see an increase in the employee retention rate. Hiring inclusive and fair practices in promotions and reducing employee retention.

    How can we reduce bias in the interview process?

    If there were a one-stop solution to this problem, I would have already stated it in this article. However, reducing bias from the interview process is not a simple task. A report published by Project Implicit in 2017 suggests that unconscious bias training can reduce implicit bias by 30%. It is indeed a heavy number that can impact organizational hiring decisions if they are aligned with the facts in training their hiring managers. 

    However, it is not an easy task, and the reason I’m saying this is that hiring bias can take many forms, from overt discrimination to unconscious bias. When choosing successful candidates, you are attracted to people who look and act like you. The latter is much more subtle and rarely intentional, but it’s still discriminatory. So, what are the solutions that we are left with? How can you reduce bias in your interview process? Let’s look at some of the best practice.  

    Also Read: 8 Recruitment Strategies to Reduce Time to Hire

    What are the guiding principles?

    To reduce bias in your interview process, you should keep in mind certain principles that serve as guides and guardrails against discrimination in hiring.

    What should I do?

    • Revise your job description and make it more fun and simple for candidates. Ensure that there is no hiring bias in the job description. For example, Avoid explicitly mentioning in a job description that it is female only for a receptionist position. 
    • Make sure that candidates undergo a skill assessment test to a technical and personality level.
    • Stop adding personal feelings to the job description; make it crisp and simple for candidates to understand. 

    What should I do not do?

    • Stop doing unstructured interviews; this process eliminates the possibility of hiring a good candidate and transparent treatment in the skill assessment test. 
    • Don’t come up with random questions at the time of the interview. 
    • Don’t ask too many personal questions from the candidate that do not add any value to the interview or the candidate’s skill.
    • Stop interpreting certain things about the candidate based on the candidate’s demographic or economic status.

    Also Read: 25 Innovation Interview Skill Questions To Assess Excellent Candidate

    1. Awareness is key

    To make your interview process more fair, it’s important to educate your team about unconscious bias. This includes things like affinity bias and racism. A great way to start is by raising awareness and helping everyone understand their own biases. You might even try having your team take a certain test and training to learn more about how our biases shape our perspectives. If your team works together, you can create a more inclusive and welcoming workplace for everyone.

    Also Read: Tips For Making A Good First Impression in Virtual Job Interview

    2. Please review your job description

    Job postings are essential in recruiting talent and often give the first impression of a company’s culture. So make sure the job description is simple and crisp and doesn’t have stereotypical words at all. Ensure that the job description has he/she/they words everywhere, and it doesn’t specify a singular gender. Similarly, excessive business jargon, long words, and abstract descriptions discourage many newcomers, especially those from disadvantaged backgrounds. Because they feel they are not suited for the role. So you must consider your language carefully.

    Also Read: The Ultimate List: 25 Interview Questions Focused on Collaboration Skills

    3. Proficiency tests are useful

    Trying out tests is a reliable way to predict how well a candidate will perform in the future. Skill assessment testing helps companies to evaluate candidates based on their skills, not just their resumes. For instance, when testing for competencies, a company should examine a candidate’s work performance instead of their looks, gender, age, or personality traits.

    4. Defining diversity for your organization

    You might also have to set some awesome business goals together! We all know how important it is to eliminate unconscious bias and embrace diversity and inclusion to increase revenue. You would be surprised to see a report published by Catalysts that 57% of the time, a diverse panel is responsible for a diverse candidate hiring. So, let’s start by defining what diversity means to your organization. Is it about including people from underrepresented races, ages, genders, or sexual orientations? If yes, then we are on the right path.

    Also Read: 17 Interview Questions to Gauge Decision-Making Skills

    5. Start using structured interviews

    Did you know that unstructured interviews can make it difficult to identify specific job issues? A study published by Harward Business Review suggests that structured interviews can reduce bias in the interview process by 35%.  Structured interviews are a great way to reduce bias in your interview process. With structured interviews, you ask all candidates the same or similar questions in the same or similar order. In fact, 67% of companies already use structured interviews when selecting candidates. This approach helps remove any subjectivity and allows companies to compare applications based on objective criteria.

    6. Start recording the job interviews

    Recording job interviews can be a great way to make sure everyone gets a fair shot and gets better results. But before you start recording, there are a few things to think about to make sure you’re following the rules. Recording interviews can help new interviewers learn faster and can be a great way to eliminate any biases. Plus, you can go back and watch the best interviews to see how candidates responded to questions. If you record or transcribe the interview, it can help you remember everything and make sure you’re giving each candidate fair treatment.

    Also Read: 23 Managerial Skill Interview Questions That You Must Ask Candidates

    7. Build a diverse interview team

    Having a diverse interview team is an awesome way to eliminate bias during the hiring process. It’s also helpful to give your team some guidance on what to look for and what to avoid, including potential hiring biases. You can even schedule debriefings to discuss candidates’ assessments and help each other identify and overcome any biases that may have crept in. 

    8. Blind Resume Screening to Reduce Bias in Your Interview Process

    Did you know there’s a smart technique called blind resume screening that can help remove bias in the hiring process? Basically, you remove personal information like names, gender, and age from resumes so you can focus solely on the qualifications and skills of applicants. In fact, a similar outcome was found in the Harvard business review study, where researchers came to the conclusion that blind resume screaning increased the hiring of women by 40% in tech. It’s a great way to create a fair and objective assessment process and give everyone an equal chance to shine!

    Also Read: What Are AI Interviews? Everything You Need To Know

    At the end

    It is not a surprise that unconscious biases can unintentionally prevent great candidates from being considered for job openings. But don’t worry, BarRaiser can help you out here. Our guided platform and interviewer training tool are tailored to the needs of the hiring team with such issues. Biases in interviews are something that can only be reduced by training the interviewer. And that is the only way to ensure equal opportunity for all candidates on executive search platforms. In addition, having a diverse team isn’t just good for business; it’s also good for overall workplace health. What looks like a simple hiring tool can change the way we look at the interview process; it has the potential to not just fast forward but also reduce hiring costs and train interviewers with new skills. 

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