In this blog series I have been exploring unconscious bias in the workplace. In the last blob post, I explored how unconscious bias plays out in the hiring process. This time, we'll explore how what hiring managers can do to minimize bias in the hiring process.
First of all, those involved in the hiring process need to reflect on their biases in order to identify them. This can be done in the following ways:
1. Increase your self-awareness: The first step to minimizing the impact of your biases in hiring is to be aware of these biases. Harvard's Implicit Association Test is an online tool to help you explore your biases. You can access it at: https://implicit.harvard.edu/implicit/education.html
2. Explore your thoughts and feelings: Explore your thoughts and any feelings of discomfort you may have when interacting with people from diverse communities, backgrounds and identities. This will help you identify any biases you may have.
3. Expand your comfort zone: Break out of your comfort zone and interact more with people from diverse communities, backgrounds and identities. Exposing yourself to positive interactions with people from different groups helps to reduce your biases about these groups and to more fairly assess them when interviewing.
See more here: The danger of a single story
4. Use a structured hiring process: A formal, structured process helps focus your assessment of the candidate on their skills and abilities to do the job, rather than your subjective assessment of them. A structured hiring process includes a review and screening of each resume or application against job qualifications, establishing pre-determined interview questions that are clearly linked to the duties of the job, identifying "look fors" for each question, and scoring the candidate's responses to each question.
5. Provide the interview questions in writing: Provide job candidates with the interview questions in writing a few minutes before the interview. This can help them calm down and provides the opportunity to formulate and structure their responses.
6. Use an interview panel: Two or three people on an interview panel allows for different perspectives in the assessment of the candidate.
7. Use consensus scoring: After each interview, the interview panel should discuss the candidate's responses and the scores assigned. They should then come to an agreement on the final score for the candidate. This allows for a full review of the candidate's responses and a thoughtful scoring of those responses, and reduces the impact of biases on the scoring of the candidates.
8. Leave enough time between interviews for assessment: Your assessment of the candidate should happen immediately after the interview and should not be rushed. When we rush to make decisions we often fail to consider all of the possible information. When we rush to score a candidate, we are also more likely to rely on our biases or "gut feeling" about a candidate.
9. Diversify the applicant pool: Ensuring that you are interviewing people from diverse communities, backgrounds and identities helps reduce our reliance on bias or stereotypes when assessing candidates. One study has shown that if there is only one woman among four interviewees, she has statistically no chance of being hired.
10. Anonymize the screening process: Anonymizing the screening process allows each candidate to be assessed based on their skills and abilities rather than assumptions made about them because of their name.
11. Use micro-affirmations: Micro-affirmations are the subtle behaviours, such as smiling, nodding, eye contact. Using micro-affirmations throughout the interview supports all candidates to do their best in the interview.
12. Reject the myth of colour-blindness: Don't pretend that you don't see a candidate's race or other differences that are evident such as race, gender, and at times disability. The goal is to see the value of these differences, not pretend they don't exist.
Read more here: Colorblind Ideology is a Form of Racism
13. Monitor your hiring: Reflect on the diversity among those you've hired to identify whether biases have influenced your hiring decisions.
In the next in the blog posts we'll begin to look at unconscious bias in the delivery of various services, such as education, healthcare and criminal justice.