7 Practical Ways to Reduce Bias in Your Hiring Process Companies like Facebook, Google, Apple, Microsoft, Twitter and others have recently announced their commitment towards gender diversity at workplaces

By Payal Sondhi

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Conscious or unconscious bias has become an undeniable part of our day-to-day work routine. It acts as a blockage in the employee's as well as organization's growth as it restricts the line of thought due to the added subjectivity. In such cases, diversity which usually acts as a strength of the organization turns into its weakness.

Corporates are now becoming aware about the consequences of letting bias create a hindrance in their culture & processes, hence the HR team needs to put in a lot of effort in bringing in this paradigm shift in the culture to create a neutral workspace. Companies like Facebook, Google, Apple, Microsoft, Twitter and others have recently announced their commitment towards hiring more women, veterans, minorities and older employees. Let's look at a few ways an HR team can work on introducing diversity and reducing the bias while hiring.

Structure and Consistency:

Set up a structure for the hiring process which means implement an assessing process that is based on competencies and skills. Make sure that every candidate follows the same structured process. This will help you maximize fairness in the hiring process and get the appropriate information from every candidate in order to make the decision.

Work Samples:

Construct work sample test for the candidates and do this in the first or second round of the interviews. This is also known as skills test, this will help you filter out the candidate based completely on their abilities and also take only those forward who fit into the job criteria. Another advantage of a work sample is that all the candidates will be giving the same test which will be a fair base overall to begin with.

Avoid Ageism:

Most of the companies are looking for candidates who bring the right experience and knowhow to the table. And that experience is built only over a period of time. If the candidate has the skills that fit in, then the organization should give more emphasis to the same and look at adding the asset. If required, the organization can always arrange for training programs at a later date that will help the candidate understand and implement the latest developments for better productivity.

Remove Gender Bias:

An organization should have a recruitment policy that would incorporate a diverse group of candidates. Encourage hiring qualified female candidates, while still giving the similar importance to the male candidates as each gender has its own set of unique capabilities.

Diversity in Hiring Team:

One good way of reducing bias in hiring process is by introducing diversity in the hiring team which a compilation of age, experience, education, gender and race. The more the diversity in the team the more objective and fair the decision will be. The key though is to keep everyone focused on the relevant information collected on each candidate. This will help in hiring people based purely on their skills as compared to certain aspects of their personality which might not be relevant for the job performance.

Recruitment Pool:

Many managers have a comfort zone. They believe in hiring from the same schools/colleges, depend on references from friends and colleagues. While these methods are effective to a certain extent, it could lead to hiring the same kind of people every time and at the same restrict the right talent from being the part of the organization.

Social Media:

In today's digital day, a lot of information is available on social media platforms. Unfortunately, we end up making assumptions based on personal information that is completely irrelevant for the job criteria. A major reason for this is our own personal biases. Do not let your judgement get clouded with the extra information you receive on the candidates from social media or other resources. Keep it professional.

Hiring biases can stunt your organization's growth, lead to employee attrition and cost you good talent. Hence the more neutral the hiring process, the better it shall work out for the organization in the longer run.

Payal Sondhi

Manager - Human Resources, SILA

Payal Sondhi is the Human Resources Manager at SILA.

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