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Try Not to Judge – How to Reduce Bias in the Hiring Process

Sonia Varkey
Published December 4, 2015

There are hiring best practices such as behavioral assessments that can help reduce the reliance on  gut instinct or judgment that seeps into the hiring process.

hiring process

When you have a resume in front of you, it’s easy to begin to make assumptions about someone. We can extrapolate how old we think they are, their nationality and then look at where they went to school and what jobs they have had to get an idea of their intelligence, work ethic and income level. How quickly our mind works to create subjective opinions that can lead to bias – and we weren’t even trying!

If this happens to us subconsciously, then does it influence who we choose in the hiring process?

Yes. We often favor applicants in an interview based on physical attractiveness, charisma, and confidence. Yet these factors don’t predict whether a candidate is going to perform well in the role they are interviewing for, nor do they truly identify long term potential. Unintentionally, human nature takes over and decisions are made based on gut instinct. After all, it worked before in hiring talent. But did it really? There’s still turnover! We can’t keep hiring the same old way, now is the time for change. Here’s how to implement a hiring best practice.  

4 Steps To Reducing Bias In the Hiring Process:

  1. Use psychometric testing (employment assessment) at the top of the hiring funnel. Personality testing will identify who is the best matched candidate before you review a resume and call them in for an interview. Candidates who are the best match to the role’s needs outside of skills and experience are identified without looking at indicators such as age and name. From here you can review their resume to confirm they have the minimum requirements for the job.
  2. Identify the needs of the role. It’s one thing to create a job description, but you also need to identify the behaviors and attitudes required to be successful in a role. That’s because a recent study found that 89% of turnover was due to attitude, not skill. Therefore you need to match someone to a role based on their behavior you expect to see them perform in a role.
  3. Use a candidate evaluation form or structured interview guide. Ask each interviewee the same questions so that you can evaluate their responses in how they behaved in situations. Take notes and take time to review those with other interviewers to determine where each candidate places in your ranking.
  4. Ask the candidates to complete a pre-interview project based on a key job task they would be doing once in the role. This will provide you with a better understanding of how they go about handling an assigned task and how they will perform given the instructions they were provided.

Implementing these strategies as your hiring best practices will reduce relying on a gut feeling and focus more on a comprehensive overview of the candidate. This adds time to making a decision which further helps reduce bias and focuses more in on abilities of the candidates. You want to hire the best matched person who will perform in the role and fits in with the culture. The best matched will stay longer, perform better and you’ll be glad you found them.

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