June 2023

Creating a More Diverse Workforce by Addressing Unconscious Bias

Create a More Diverse Workforce and Improve Engagement by Addressing Unconscious Bias in the Hiring Process

What is it and how can we address it?

Unconscious biases are social stereotypes that can be held about certain groups of people that can be formed without being consciously aware of it. Even when trying to be objective when recruiting new team members, unconscious bias is one of those things that can creep in unnoticed. It happens to everyone at one point or another, impacting our decision-making process and, if not addressed, can cause prejudice without us even realising it.

Unconscious bias can often occur during the hiring process, causing businesses to miss out on hiring great talent because biases impact the evaluation of candidates. In this candidate-short market we don’t want to unintentionally limit our candidate pool.

Addressing unconscious bias in the hiring process improves employee engagement, retention, and create a more diverse workforce, leading to enhanced creativity, problem solving capabilities and can help your business better understand and serve a more diverse customer base.

So, how can you mitigate the chances of unconscious bias creeping in to your hiring processes?

>> Identify Unconscious Bias:

Look at the data

No one wants to feel like they treat others differently based on their gender, race, religion, or any other factor. One way to become aware of whether unconscious bias has affected your previous hiring decisions is to look at your hiring data. If you’re consistently hiring candidates from one demographic it could indicate a bias.

Audit your process

An audit of your hiring process will allow you to identify any areas where bias may be present. SEEK has written a very helpful article on how to remove bias from your job ads, which can be used to further audit things like job descriptions, interview questions and selection criteria.

>> Address Unconscious Bias:

Use objective criteria

Try and avoid using subjective criteria in your candidate selections, like “good culture fit”. Ensure you are using objective criteria instead, such as skills, qualifications, and experience.

Create structured interviews

Structured interviews involve asking all candidates the exact same set of questions for a particular role, and often in the same order. This can help minimise the risk of unconscious bias by ensuring all of your candidates are being evaluated on the same criteria.

Use blind hiring techniques

Blind hiring involves hiding or “blinding” resume details like a candidate’s name, address, hobbies, or graduation year. Information may be assumed from these details, such as someone’s gender identity, age, or race, and could potentially impact the hiring decision.

Diversify your hiring team

Diversifying your hiring team can help reduce the impact of unconscious bias by bringing different perspectives to the hiring process. A diverse hiring team can help ensure that biases are challenged and that candidates are evaluated fairly.

 

Recognising and overcoming any unconscious bias in your hiring process is crucial to ensure candidates are evaluated fairly. By analysing your existing data, implementing blind hiring techniques, and offering internal training on how to structure interviews you can greatly reduce the potential impact of unconscious bias and create a more inclusive recruitment process. Your business will also enjoy the benefit of an improved brand image, more diverse perspectives within your team, and reduced turn-over due to higher employee engagement.

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