Time and time again, studies have shown the many personal and professional benefits of workplace diversity. From increased financial returns to better overall decision making skills, the case for diversity keeps getting stronger and stronger. So why are so many companies still struggling with hiring bias?
The #1 challenge facing most hiring managers is that creating an unbiased, equal hiring process is much harder than it sounds. People are naturally prone to bias in many different forms, and even HR experts are no exception. So as a hiring manager committed to building a diverse team, what steps can you take to ensure that you’re not part of the problem?
While it may be impossible to erase human error from the equation entirely, here are 5 essential pragmatic solutions to get you started:
1. Blind your resume review.
About 50 years ago, symphony orchestras had very little diversity until the practice of auditioning behind a curtain became popular. Without knowledge of the musicians’ genders, directors became 25-46% more likely to hire women.
The same principle applies to resumes. Teams find more diverse candidates when race, gender and class-identifying information (names, university, personal activities, etc.) are removed via software like ours at untapt. Other platforms like pymetrics even go so far as to help you test each candidates’ abilities through neuroscience games and other great tools.
It might seem unintuitive to remove university names, but as Dave Lopes of Badger Maps says:
“[T]here are thousands of highly qualified people who may have taken different paths toward education or experience. Most people aren’t fortunate enough to go to Stanford or University of California, Berkeley, but they are just as ready, qualified and eager as their counterparts.”
2. Build a diverse hiring team.
The best way to reduce individual human error? Enable people of different backgrounds to work together, transparently and honestly. Having a diverse group looking through resumes and speaking to candidates not only reduces their overall bias, but also gives minority candidates a more positive outlook on the company during interviews. After Intel implemented a policy of including underrepresented groups in their hiring decision makers, their overall diversity grew dramatically.
3. Use neutral language in your job description.
Though you may not be aware of it, a job listing’s wording creates implicit gender bias. According to a university study, typical “masculine” terms such as “dominate” and “competitive” consistently dissuaded women from applying. We suggest using language that is inclusive and sticks to the “must-have” traits and skills.
Scanning your writing for this kind of language is easy too. Try Textio’s tone meter or other similar software tools for a quick diagnosis.
4. Do as much screening as possible before meeting.
In-person meetings are the greatest opportunities for unfair judgment to occur based on race, age, body language, physical traits/appearance, etc. The later you can push this in your process, the more likely you’ll be to find worthy candidates that you may have otherwise written off.
The untapt platform makes it easy for you to receive resumes in an anonymous format, so you can focus on the content. We also take this one step further; our AI software can help automatically screen candidates for you, removing unqualified applicants and ensuring overall quality in each resume you review.
5. Establish a standard interview protocol.
According to a study by sociologist Lauren Rivera, when interviews lack structure, hiring managers tend to default to “cultural matching.” In other words, men hired men, women hired women, and so on, while true skill and readiness for the job fall by the wayside.
To avoid this, ditch free-form interviews and set out a consistent plan for each new hire. Identify questions that test for skills and traits for the role, then grade these responses on a standardized rubric. As you cover multiple candidates, it’ll be easier to review these results in an impartial way. Again, this is another step where structured platforms like pymetrics can be of great help.
Hopefully you found these tips on how to eliminate hiring bias helpful. If you’re a hiring manager in tech looking to improve your onboarding process or a candidate looking for your next career move, be sure to sign up for untapt today!