How to Reduce Bias in Interview Process?

It is not uncommon for bias in interview process from the recruiter’s end. A lot of times, this is to boost workplace diversity. But can this solve the diversity issue?  No. In fact, you first need a complete understanding of what diversity means, and how your hiring procedure contributes to individuals’ biases.

So, what is diversity?

A diverse workforce hires individuals from all classes and looks past their gender, age, caste, creed, race, religion, abilities. It gives an equal opportunity for people from different socio-economic backgrounds.

But be aware, unconscious bias in recruitment can still find its way. “Workplace diversity” sounds like jargon but just embodies a simple, achievable, and crucial goal for every company.

And we’ll tell you just how diversity can lift your company. Although some companies just do it for their public image (which, we can’t deny, is essential), or to meet government norms, successful businesses have been able to observe the benefits of a diverse workforce.

To avoid racial bias in hiring process or any other, you need to build a mixed workforce. A mixed workforce gives tangible benefits to the employer and the brand as a whole. Diversity in the workplace leads to more critical and high-level goals, like an increase in innovation and much better productivity.

Tip of The Eyes-berg

According to a study by McKinsey & Company, ethnically diverse companies are 33% more likely to have super-normal profits. That means identifying and avoiding interview biases actually leads to money. Yay, capitalism.

The report further suggests an intriguing correlation between diversity in leadership and financial outperformance. It’s safe to say that diverse employees will bring several perspectives, ideas, and opinions.

A diverse brainstorming team will also understand customers better since they, too, can come from diverse backgrounds.

Increased Creativity

When you do not have any bias in interview process, the employees work best when they understand how their strengths and uniqueness benefit the group and overall company.

Think about it this way: sameness breeds sameness. If you hire only heterogeneous groups – that is, employees who belong to the same or identical cultures, perspectives, and socioeconomic circumstances – you’d be limiting your in-house creativity and innovation.

That is why bias in hiring process is a bad idea. On the other hand, teams with members with diverse backgrounds will come up with different solutions to achieve a common goal.

High-Performing Teams are more Diverse

It’s crucial to understand which member offers which type of strength and also the overall dynamics of your teams. A study by Good&Co revealed that for maximized team performance, teams should have a ratio of 1 female to 1 male.

Talking about implicit bias in hiring process, the study further found that female leaders exhibited higher levels of cohesiveness and better team performance compared to male managers.

Yes, we’re adding to the jargon, but it’s true – creativity leads to higher productivity. Professor Hong, an economist at Chicago’s Loyola University, and Professor Page from the University of Michigan showed that groups of diverse problem solvers, who face no bias in interview process, outperform groups of high-ability problem solvers.

Improves Employer Brand and Global Reputation

Yes, we spoke about how this is one of the primary goals achieved, but we do need to talk about how diverse hiring can seriously affect employer branding. In June 2019, Zomato offered 26 weeks of maternity leave to new fathers.

“I believe that young parents should be able to make a choice of how to care for their children. And that a myopic view of primary caregiving not only alienates one half of our workforce but also creates circumstances that lead to fewer female leaders within organizations, the community, and the nation,” Founder & CEO Deepinder Goyal said.

It’s impossible to be in the room and not participate in the discussion, especially when you’re running a business and can’t afford competitors outrunning you. As a result, almost all organization, whether small or big, want to invest in diversity hiring.

After organizations see the results and returns on investment in diversity hiring, practically all companies get hooked on it. The criteria are not only to meet government quotas but also the goodwill it brings.

Company cultures will inevitably vary from company to company. Some may follow a casual and informal approach, while others prefer specific rules, policies, and do’s and don’ts. It largely depends on the size, nature, and adaptability of the business to grow with time.

Culture and work environment is the character of your organization. When the attitude of the company is welcoming, so will be the attitude of the people working with said company. Managers will be well-receptive to ideas and promote a decent and civilized culture. One where everyone is respected, and no one feels offended or insecure.

So, how to prevent bias in interview process?

Here are some ideas:

Awareness

The only way for you to avoid hiring bias is to start by acknowledging the issue. It is the only means that hiring managers will understand their choices matter.

Training

It is crucial to provide teams with training and the different ways to eliminate bias from their recruitment procedure. Good instruction on name bias in hiring and other issues enables hiring teams to understand what actions they have to take to avoid biased decisions.

Use Technology

Humans are the ones who see judgmental characteristics and these differences are not identified by computers. Especially, new-age technology like artificial intelligence is turning the game upside down.

This is a major step in tackling unconscious bias in hiring practices. AI doesn’t discriminate, that’s why it’s an analyst’s best tool. Human resource deals with a lot of people analysis, and smart, online tools can help you do that.

AI in human resources helps speed up the recruitment process and look past physical appearance and traits to judge individuals according to the algorithms provided to them. This way of handling bias in interview process and deep insight will help you build a recruitment strategy that ranks applicants based on professional merit and nothing else.

Language in job descriptions, PRs, Brand Communications

Think about any words you are using that might deter applicants, clients, or audiences of your brand and highlight unconscious bias hiring. To make your job descriptions inclusive, start by removing subtly gendered terms like “ninja,” “rockstar,” or “guru” and replace them with more straightforward titles, like “specialist” or “field service representative.”

These titles may not be as flashy, but they’re more inclusive and less likely to turn off candidates who feel they don’t fit the image you’re trying to portray.

To Wrap It Up

Top brands like Facebook, Amazon, Deutsche Bank, AT&T, etc. participated in a Forbes Insights survey and the report concluded that a diverse and inclusive workforce is critical to business success. That is why the advocacy for unbiased recruitment is gaining traction.

But the more significant challenge is not creating a diverse workforce, the problem is with maintaining it since the problem is with retaining such talent. Diversity hiring goes hand-in-hand with diversity recruiting strategy, workplace diversity training, and, most importantly, a commitment to diversity from the top. And the road to avoid bias in interview process has just begun.

Editor’s Note: Originally published on 8 January 2020 at 3 PM. Updated on 8 June 2021.

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