5 Easy Tips to Reduce Bias in Your Hiring Process

The key to a successful company is a diverse workforce – these are some ways you can make your hiring process less biased.

By: Brian Gaysunas

Bias in your hiring process can be holding your company back and blinding you from qualified candidates. Knowing how inhibiting bias can be in hiring, you should take whatever steps you can to reduce bias in your hiring process. To get a better sense of how you can improve your hiring process, you need to take a magnifying glass to each step of the process and determine where bias might be introduced. Chances are, each step in your hiring process is influenced by bias in some way. To make your hiring process less biased, keep these 5 easy tips in mind.

 

1. Determine what you look for in a resume

Reviewing resumes is often the first place bias is introduced to a hiring process. Unconscious bias can slip in when reviewing resumes based on what areas the reviewer looks at. Unfortunately, conscious or not, assumptions about race and gender can be made simply by looking at an applicant’s name. When this affects the reviewer’s decision on an applicant, either positively or negatively, it perpetuates bias in hiring. To avoid this, determine the information that matters to you in a resume and focus on those sections. Some companies practice blind hiring, whereby resumes remain anonymous and place the focus instead on experience. This strategy can make your hiring process less biased.

 

2. Focus on skills and experience rather than job titles

You may be focusing too much on job titles when reviewing resumes. Although you can get a good sense of someone’s past work history through the jobs they list in their resume, placing too much of a focus on these titles can lead you to make assumptions about that person. For example, someone might assume that an applicant with 20 years of customer service should continue down that path and wouldn’t be suited for jobs in other fields. The transferable skills that an applicant has gained in their job history are more important than whatever title that person has. Try to look more closely at what a person would be capable of based on their skills and experience rather than the exact jobs they’ve worked to get to where they are.

 

3. Have a variety of interviewers & reviewers

If your hiring process typically involves one person who ultimately has the final say, final decisions will always be influenced by bias, unconscious or otherwise. More often, a group will make the final decision or a number of recruiters will each make hiring decisions. Rotating out interviewers or using any method to ensure that no single person has too much influence over hiring decisions can reduce bias.

 

4. Review your interview process

Interviews are the main source of bias in most hiring processes. Unfortunately, most of this bias can’t be controlled due to the nature and goal of interviews – to determine who would be a good fit. Each interviewer looks for something different in the people they interview to determine what a good fit looks like, but humans can’t make this decision without being influenced by some unconscious bias. Often, interviewers fall into the trap of favoring interviewees that remind them of themselves. To avoid bias in interviewing, some companies have taken on blind interviewing, which can be conducted through online chats, test-taking, and even in voice-modulated phone calls. There are also algorithms now that show promise to make hiring decisions based on skills and experience.

 

5. Determine what’s really necessary

To move as far as you can from bias in your hiring process, you should determine the bare minimum information that is relevant to your hiring decision. Some companies have taken the approach of blind hiring, which shrinks the bias apparent in resumes and interviews – but bias can be even further avoided through algorithms. tilr is an algorithmic hiring platform that matches businesses with job seekers based on their skills and availability. By removing resumes and interviews from the equation, tilr can drastically reduce the bias in your overall hiring process.

 

It’s important to find a good fit when hiring because bad hires can be costly. In trying to avoid hiring the ‘wrong’ person, recruiters can become more strict or particular about who the ‘right’ person is. Each person will have a different perception of what a ‘good hire’ looks like, which introduces bias into the hiring process. There are ways to avoid this bias, though, as listed above. To make your hiring process less biased, determine which strategies can most effectively be employed by your company.