4 Ways to Mitigate Bias When Recruiting and Hiring
It’s a difficult time to be hiring. The future of many industries is uncertain, the market is flooded with candidates, and the pressure to find the right person to fill a vacant position is at an all time high. Many leaders are also reflecting on their business practices, especially recruiting and hiring, to ensure they’re doing all that they can to support an unbiased, inclusive, and diverse company culture.
It’s not new information that businesses who embrace diversity perform better. But it’s tempting for many companies to rely on precedent and tradition to find their new hires--and those methods aren’t always the best ways to ensure an inclusive and unbiased hiring practice.
If you’re committing to encouraging an unbiased recruiting, interviewing, and hiring process at your company, here are a few things you can consider to get started.
CREATE A HIRING PLAN
A hiring plan can set the course and the tone for the entire process. Think about who needs to be involved--both within your organization and externally, what you’d like the process to look like, and how to best use everyone’s time. Consider your company culture and values when discussing potential candidates to fill a role. Rather than subconsciously looking for a candidate who is similar to the employee who is leaving, this article suggests building a business case around the value of the position and what you envision the role will contribute to the company.
ASK YOURSELF DIFFICULT QUESTIONS ABOUT BIAS
One of the best ways to mitigate bias when we hire is to acknowledge that we all have it. It’s not unusual to find more in common with candidates who share our alma mater or remind us of someone we know. But, it’s important to ask ourselves questions about how our conscious or unconscious biases impact our hiring decisions. Here are a few to ask:
- Do I source candidates and post in the same places every time I hire?
- Do I tend to favor certain schools or organizations?
- Do I tend to hire people like “me”?
CAST A WIDE NET
To attract a pool of candidates with diverse talents, backgrounds, and perspectives, you have to cast a wide net in your search. Consider using new databases and referral sources. Look for transferable skills outside your industry, and don’t limit your thinking to traditional career backgrounds and trajectories. Network with candidates, even on LinkedIn, to meet people outside your direct network.
BRING MORE VOICES TO THE TABLE
Finally, to truly support an unbiased hiring process, you’ve got to include multiple perspectives in every step--from writing the job description to vetting candidates to interviewing. It will build employee morale and engagement if your team has a voice in the process. Large or small businesses may consider including an external advisor, or running their interview questions by a diversity and inclusion expert. Of course, it’s important to create common guidelines and criteria to ensure the process can be efficient, true to your company’s mission, and aligned to your hiring plan.