Seven Ways To Minimise Unconscious Bias In Your Recruitment Process

Kat Heague our consultant managing the role
Author: Kat Heague
Posting date: 1/14/2021 10:22 AM
When it comes to the recruitment process, organisations will often take different approaches to securing their next hire. Yet, one challenge that remains the same across the board is the ubiquitous nature of unconscious bias.

This typically means that individuals will favour those that look or think similarly to themselves. Not only is the potential for prejudice to arise an alarming issue here, but the impacts of unconscious bias can also have a detrimental effect on the hiring process, in both the short and long term. You could face missing out on a highly skilled and qualified candidate, as well as damaging opportunities for improving the diversity of the business.

In order to address unconscious bias, organisations really need to take a moment to reflect and challenge their perceptions on the positive and the negative implications. Our own research demonstrates the opportunities of bolstering not only a diverse team in Data and Analytics, but an inclusive one too. Here are some core ways in which organisations can challenge and adapt their processes:

Check your job descriptions


It’s one of the simplest changes to make, but far too often overlooked. Many of us will use gender coded language without even realising it.

It is therefore critical that all job descriptions are neutral, and that descriptive language is removed. Masculine-coded words such as ‘confident’ and ‘guru’ and feminine-coded words such as ‘understanding’ and ‘modest’ can really discourage individuals from applying for positions.

Make use of panel-based interviews


Over the past year, we’ve all become accustomed to a much more virtual way of working, which includes the recruitment process.  Our reliance on technology now plays an integral role in how we interview, test and hire candidates.

When interviewing candidates, organisations should involve a range of different people (even if this is just in an observational role), as they may challenge your preconceptions and provide an alternative viewpoint. Instead of only involving the CEO and Managing Director, for example, make sure you have individuals from other departments and areas within the team sitting in too.

Interviews should instead focus on skills-based tasks 


In order to minimise the unconscious bias that permeates the recruitment process across industries, interviews need to focus on skills-based tasks. Importantly, hiring managers should be assessing the suitability for a role, so practical, skills-focused tasks are important in establishing this.

Appoint an external inclusion agency


If you’re stuck for where to start when it comes to improving the ways in which you plan and execute your hiring strategies, it could be worthwhile to seek support from an external agency or individual that specialises in inclusion.

Their insights, experiences and knowledge will be able to support an organisation to ensure that their hiring process minimises the impacts of unconscious bias.

Facilitating discussions and training


In the same way that liaising with external experts can support an organisation, so to can introducing training sessions. Stamping out unconscious bias requires us all to challenge our ways of thinking to create an inclusive culture for all.

Regardless of whether this is during the recruitment process, through onboarding or once an individual is working within the business, facilitating discussions and training can help. It should be noted though, that generalised training to minimise unconscious bias training isn’t always effective, so this should be assessed and planned according to relevant objectives and goals.

Advertise roles through different channels


To ensure that you are reaching a diverse pool of talent, hiring managers should ensure that positions are advertised across a range of different platforms. It may be the case that highly skilled professionals from different backgrounds do not all source new positions through the same websites or streams.

Improving this access will ensure that you are not selecting candidates from the same pool of talent. 

Set specific diversity and inclusion goals


It’s crucial to remember that taking steps to minimise and remove these biases is just one part of a much bigger challenge that organisations are facing in order to action change.

Firms need to assess their long-term diversity and inclusion goals in order to ensure that removing biases is part of an embedded strategy.

Internal strategies must be reviewed and assessed in order to ensure that the approach to the recruitment process provides equal and fair access and opportunities for all to thrive. In the Data and Analytics sector, it’s key for leaders to take action to mandate some core strategies to engage and include a diverse team of talent.

If you're looking to make your next hire, or are searching role yourself, get in touch with our expert consultants or take a look at our latest Data & Analytics jobs here


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