How to Mitigate Bias in Your Hiring Process?

The hiring process keeps evolving as per industry needs. There is a lot that goes into creating a diverse workforce. Creating a safe and affirming environment, upward mobility, and holistic wellness are all essential pieces of your company culture. But what if your interviewing process is homogenizing your workforce without you even knowing it? Companies are increasingly focused on DEI efforts, which is fantastic. Bias is part of any recruiter’s hiring process, whether they know it or not. Still, many don’t realize that the built-in bias within their interviewing methods, timing, and technology can stop a diverse workforce before they ever get to your door. 

How Does Bias Find Its Way Into The Hiring Process? 

Biases aren’t inherently bad in any hiring process, or for that matter, any activity that we perform. They are our brains’ way of analyzing lots of information to make quick decisions… like a mental shortcut. Everyone has unconscious biases that can shape how someone views another person or situation. While not inherently bad, this quiet force can influence a recruiter’s decision to favor one candidate over another for reasons that may not matter to the job. Biases in the recruitment process can stand in the way of a qualified person’s ability to be hired and improve your company. 

Unknown biases take a toll on your recruitment process and, in turn, your business success. When companies are more diverse, they are more innovative, perform better, and improve employee retention. In fact, companies that build a more diverse team see a 22% lower turnover rate

Biases have a negative impact on our hiring cycles far too often. Princeton even conducted a study that confirms the existence of biased hiring. When major symphony orchestras conducted blind auditions, “the probability that a woman would advance from preliminary rounds [increased] by 50 percent.” Removing aspects that influence bias, like how a person looks, increases diversity. Your company will build its best team when it prioritizes steps and tools that mitigate bias. 

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Here are 3 steps to help mitigate bias in the hiring cycle:

Have a Consistent Hiring Process

An inconsistent hiring process, or even interview questions, can allow personal biases to control your organization. A live interview can change from candidate to candidate with even the smallest differences in your questions, tone, or delivery. These subtle differences can change the way candidates respond which in turn can change how the recruiter may evaluate them. If you’re not careful, this could lead to missed opportunities with someone who could be an asset to your team. Making the application and interview process the same for each candidate levels the playing field for everyone. 

One way to do this is to evaluate your hiring cycle to make sure each candidate is: 

  • Communicated with in the same time frame 
  • Encountering the same interview questions 
  • Not barred from interviewing based on technological access or scheduling constraints 

Technological accessibility is perhaps one of the most often ignored pieces of inclusive hiring. When your hiring process only caters to candidates who have access to video interviewing tools (like a computer, professional background, quiet place, and high-speed internet), you are cutting yourself off from many candidates who might be a great fit. Likewise, if you are only able to conduct interviews during traditional business hours, you are extending your time-to-hire needlessly. Instead, seek out tools to help you conduct asynchronous interviews to address technological and scheduling accessibility. Inclusive hiring practices need to extend beyond your DEI efforts and candidate sourcing. 

Standardize Your Interviews 

Most recruiters have to conduct dozens of interviews in a single day just to meet their hiring demands — especially high-volume recruiters. It’s nearly impossible for even the best recruiter to maintain the same energy, tone, and exact questions with each candidate. A small change in how your recruiter feels can impact that interview outcome. Even judges tend to be more favorable after lunch or breaks. Standardizing the questions can keep the interview focused on a candidate’s qualifications and their ability to perform the job. When you use the same questions for each candidate, it’s easier to compare and remove any bias throughout the hiring process.

Use Tools That Promote Consistency 

One way to keep a consistent interview process is to conduct audio-based interviews instead of video interviews. A phone call can be the perfect way to interview every candidate on your list in less time than a video interview. A phone interview lets you focus on standardized questions instead of a video interview’s visual or technological components, ensuring consistency. 

To remove bias and speed up your time-to-hire, consider using tools that offer asynchronous (one-way) phone interviews allowing a recruiter to: 

  • Record their questions
  • Share those questions with candidates
  • Capture candidate responses whenever it’s convenient for the applicant 

These tools, by nature, remove visual bias by being audio-based. They can help recruiters mitigate bias in the hiring cycle and save time while they do it. One-way phone interview platforms can come with automatic transcriptions of each recorded interview allowing recruiters to focus specifically on the objectives of the interview. 

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