Identifying and Overcoming Recruitment Bias In Your Team

Hiring teams need to be able to identify and overcome recruitment bias if they're to bring in top talent for the organisation.

Identifying and Overcoming Recruitment Bias In Your Team

Unfortunately, in business, the phrase “go with your gut”’ flies a little too literally. It can lead to recruitment bias in hiring teams who inadvertently end up bypassing exceptional talent.

Our sources of bias can stem from intuition, upbringing, culture, and social influences. It can be unconsciously drawn into decision making during the recruitment process and used to justify snap decisions. Even though the person feels that they are acting in fairness, their personal knowledge and emotion may weigh into a decision without them realising it.

Identifying Recruitment Bias In Your Team

A company that appears to be diverse on the surface might, in fact, disguise branches and departments that are devoid of diversity. It begins with recruitment, where the business’s overall goals and hiring quotas need to be firmly embedded in the process.

A company should look at their recruitment intake and attempt to identify patterns in hiring. The typical demographic of a company is dependent on the sector in which they work.

Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) industries are particularly vulnerable to “pale-male syndrome”. However, the opposite can also be observed, particularly in jobs with low pay. Examples might include the childcare or hospitality industries that frequently hire women over men.

This pattern can occur when hiring teams are unaware of their own personal biases. They might have an ideal candidate in mind and unintentionally base all requirements on that idea. Applicants who increase diversity might not fit this mental picture.

The reality is, biases can perpetuate unless recruitment is tackled from a clean slate, ignoring historical hiring trends.

Beat Historical Hiring Trends

Why Is This Important?

Aside from the legislation that makes diversity goals obligatory, taking steps to tackle recruitment bias is morally important. However, many are unaware that it is also accompanied by a huge number of business benefits.

Companies with a higher level of gender diversity in leadership frequently outperform competitors with less diversity in terms of profits. Similarly, higher cultural diversity is thought to improve innovation revenue.

Beyond business milestones, your company’s team can also benefit from working in a diverse environment. It provides an opportunity for them to understand different cultures and widen their mental horizons. With a shared objective, a team will be able to work together towards a common goal.

Methods To Overcome Recruitment Bias

Several useful methods can be used to successfully tackle bias in recruitment. Below we have compiled a list of valuable methods to help you reach your goals.

Seek To Understand

Education is always the first, and arguably most important, step in reducing recruitment bias in a hiring team. A team can come to understand hiring prejudices through the provision of education and training.

Through a constructive session, managers can make employees aware that biases exist. They can then encourage them to look internally for better self-awareness, as well as provide expert training to help them move past it.

Rework Your Job Descriptions

Rework Job Descriptions

The job description of a role is a key factor in determining who applies for it. It also gives an impression of the overall company culture.

For example, using the words determined or competitive tend to attract more male applicants. On the other hand, collaborative or cooperative are examples of words that draw more female applicants. Certain adjectives are deemed to be masculine and feminine.

To remedy this, there is software to identify and highlight these types of words. This way, recruiters can choose to remove them, replace them with a more neutral word, or balance out the gendered language.

Go Blind For The CV Review

One effective way to level the playing field is to focus on the specific qualifications and talents of an applicant without factoring in their demographic characteristics. To tackle this, the &Team platform uses AI & ML driven technology to depersonalise candidates and adopt a fair and systematic process for reviewing applications.

Give A Work Sample Test

A work sample test mimics the sort of tasks that will be assigned to a new recruit once they start the job. These indicate the future job performance of an individual. They also identify who has the best natural abilities to perform well in a role. This forces a hiring team to look at evidence-based skills, as opposed to demographic qualities.

Work Sample Test

Standardise Interviews

It has been shown that interviews lacking structure are an unreliable indicator of job success. If hiring managers set standard, clear, and defined questions then each candidate has a similar experience. From there, recruiters can focus on the factors that have a direct impact on performance.

An interview scorecard can help with this. Ideally, the interview should act as a third, independent data point in addition to the CV review and work sample.

Set Diversity Goals

When setting goals to improve diversity, make these known throughout the business. It gives the entire organisation something to work towards and makes the initiative bigger than only belonging to HR. Employees will be better motivated to participate if they know that there is room for potential upskilling or sending in referrals who achieve the objectives.

The Bottom Line

A diverse workplace has known advantages in terms of business performance and cultural enrichment. That’s why many companies are making efforts to reduce unconscious bias in recruitment. Our tips should help your organisation take its first steps towards tackling this and transform your office into a successful workplace that represents our workforce.