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What is Recruitment Bias and how to avoid it?

September 1, 2021

What is Recruitment Bias?

Candidates come from various ways of life, and while the diversity in cultural backgrounds and personal traits is a welcomed sight, some recruiters might be unintentionally susceptible to “recruitment bias” because of it.

The hiring team always aims for the best candidates possible. And, while that’s truly what every manager and company wishes for, the walls of biased thinking and stereotyping can halt the whole thing with a loud bang! Most of the time, many leaders fail or don’t want to seek the roots of recruitment bias phobia because of the threat of its backlashing on them. Even so, successfully finding the reasons won’t always end in completely removing the idea stuck in some people’s minds.

With all that said, having a diverse workforce boosts the reputation of the company and promotes its atmosphere as a space where everybody, regardless of their heritage and background, can thrive and improve. So, we have gathered a list of ways to reduce recruitment bias.

Raise Awareness About Recruitment Bias

Some might consider this as counter-intuitive, but sometimes ripping the band-aid in front of the others and taking the issue head-on is the only way to go.

By openly talking about recruitment bias with the hiring team and everyone else who, in one way or another, are connected to the procedure, you direct people’s attention to the subject. By doing so, employees with a possible biased mindset will acknowledge the issue and, if put in the right way, will reconsider their actions and thoughts.

This way, they will ask themselves, “why are they doing this?” and how they can alter their behavior towards recruiting an applicant and steering clear of recruitment bias for good.

Double-check the Language in The Job Advertisement

Job Advertisement

Nobody likes a self-centered company that only rambles on about what they want or need instead of focusing on candidates’ talents and skill sets. Being neglectful is a major landmine that many big names in the industry fail to sidestep, and more often than not, it causes them the best fits out there.

Applicants want to hear about the things they can do and how they can elevate a company’s current statue, not that the company all-together ignores their talents.

Get rid of recruitment bias fear from the beginning, starting from the job description. In unwittingly including gender/age preferences and other similarly destructive reams of texts, you will cost the company to lose valuable talents. Don’t make everything in the company's description to irritate the applicants even before they apply. Remove age or other restrictive terms from the job advertisement and make it so that a broad spectrum of candidates feel they can apply for the position.

Close Your Eyes When It Matters

Some recruiters can’t handle fanning out resumes and coming into a conclusion without throwing some judgmental thoughts into the mix. If you, too, are experiencing the same problem, try to do the process blindly. By which we mean not diverting your eyes to the applicant’s name, gender, or other personal features that might cloud your judgment.

Following this routine will help you avoid recruitment bias and unbiasedly ranking the resumes for the management to have the final words.

Validated Assessments to Counter Recruitment Bias

Validated assessments have significantly increased as a pre-hiring method of determining an applicant's overall capabilities, all a much-appreciated feature of the new hiring automation technology.

By incorporating such data into the hiring process, recruiters undergo a smoother and less-excruciatingly operation to select the most qualified candidates for a job opening. This new method of pre-assessing candidates has been going around since the introduction of new hiring technologies and the extraordinary measures have been helpful.

The pitfall that you should not fall into is that some assessments come from invalid sources. It's simple to utilize validated assessments to prevent any loss of highly qualified fits the company pool of staff.

Standardize the Interviews

The interview’s vibe is not always a productive thing; sometimes, it fires back and destroys the session.

Many recruiters don’t have a specific set of interview questions to go on about and shoot and the interview, which, sometimes, makes them to inadvertently drive the meeting into a pit and bug the interviewee. To stop recruiters from dipping into the room and carry on the interview in a way they think most optimal, standardize and give the questions to the recruiter beforehand.

To further rescuing recruiters from unconscious recruitment bias, you can even set up a short briefing conference to inform them on how they can perform the interview. Doing so goes a long way!

Attractions Cause Recruitment Bias

bias recruiting

Now and then, recruiters come across an interviewee whom they feel close to and can picture themselves sharing a joke or anecdote with. While, in its essence, this isn’t anything wrong to explore, in the concept of an interview, this can ruin other candidates’ chances at a job vacancy.

As pointed out before, having a well-rounded structured interview and appointing a diverse hiring panel to the task helps to eliminate such threats.

Also, paring the interview with a real-life problem-solving challenge that brings the interviewee to its professional limits can give your recruiter a better insight into their talents and further pushed them away from recruitment bias.

Implement a Collaborative Hiring Process

As explained in a harver.com piece: "Diversity attracts Diversity. Don’t have just one person responsible for hiring, make the hiring process unbiased as possible by including as many different people, with differing backgrounds and differing worldviews.

This way, a broad spectrum of people will have an input on each candidate, and everyone will be looking for something different, allowing the hiring to be a collaborative process, not based on one person’s decision.

Have everyone individually note down their thoughts during interviews and submit these or discuss them openly as a group during the selection process." 

Acknowledge Confirmation Bias

Many recruiters base their final decision on knowing the applicant for the duration of only an interview. This should be avoided; because confirmation bias can divert them from the main road of righteousness.

An interview is a great place to get to know the other side. However, nobody should let confirmation bias get the best of them. An interview should be a place for recruiting professionals to evaluate candidates' skill sets and other necessary information to make sure they can walk the walk and not just talk the talk.

Diversify the Job Campaign Location

Another factor in the recruitment bias situation would be to always opt for the same recruitment campaign route. This helps the company to diversify and recruiters to gain access to a wider variety of fits ready to join the working staff. Here are some points to follow:

  • Don’t focus on a specific list of websites related to your industry; spread the word everywhere!
  • Look for job boards other than the typical ones you use

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