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How can recruiters reduce bias in the hiring process?

Diversity, inclusion? Hot topics in the press at the moment. It’s very easy for us to have preconceived ideas and to build up prejudices based on our own backgrounds and beliefs. This can be quite an emotive subject but how can recruiters reduce bias in the hiring process?

Larger sized businesses especially these days are aware of their responsibilities when it comes to recruiting a diverse workforce. HR teams or internal recruiters may have quotas to work towards for example. A lack of ethnicities or females at managerial levels are other examples that should be a concern because this can have an affect on business productivity and thinking. It may also put off potential candidates from wanting to join an organisation if the current workforce does not have diversity.

Unconscious bias (or is it?)

Unconscious bias can occur at many stages of the recruiting process and can be triggered by the smallest of details. Opinions can be formed based on a candidates name, perceived age, location, sex (or sexual orientation if this is known), ethnicity or disabilities. Being aware of possible bias is a good starting point to help mitigate them and make decisions based on capabilities instead. We are often naturally drawn to people that are like ourselves, or have similar interests to us for example.

Research suggests that we make unconscious bias decisions without really realising we are doing it.  Bias in the workplace is known to be quite widespread. We can of course make very conscious bias decisions for the very wrong reasons (implicit bias). This is dangerous, and building a workforce based on discrimination of any kind will be detrimental to your business.

Overcoming bias

You can actively look to overcome any bias by taking personal elements out of the initial process. ‘Blind CV’s’ are a good way of doing this for starters. Try and have any personal details removed that could prejudice your thinking before the CV gets to you (or the hiring manager). Structure the interview process so every candidate gets asked the same questions and is set the same tasks. If you have the opportunity, setup a diverse interview panel to provide different perspectives and reduce the impact of individual biases.

Other systems and measures that we can employ could be to provide training. Raise awareness to recruiters and hiring managers of unconscious biases and equip them with strategies to mitigate these effects. Implement AI-powered tools for resume screening and candidate evaluation to remove human biases from the initial stages of the hiring process. Define clear criteria for evaluating candidates based on job requirements, skills, and qualifications to minimize subjective judgments. Actively promote diversity and inclusion within the organization. Targeted recruitment efforts, partnerships with diverse communities, and inclusive workplace policies are all good ways of doing this. Also review your hiring process regularly to ensure it is up to date and if you need to make improvements.

Statistics speak for themselves and consistently research shows that businesses perform better when they have greater ethnic and gender diversity.

Recruitment experts

SSG partner with experienced recruiters to help them launch and grow their own business. We take care of everything to get you up and running as quickly and smoothly as possible and then give you the tools and expert guidance to make your business a success. Statistics show that you are 2.9 times more likely to succeed if you partner with SSG rather than going it alone.