Removing Unconscious Bias in the Recruitment Process

 In Recruit Complete, Recruitment

If you are struggling to increase diversity in the workplace, there is a very high chance unconscious bias is getting in the way.

So, what exactly is unconscious bias?

In the recruitment process, unconscious bias means forming an opinion on a candidate based on first impressions that are not relevant to the job requirements. This can include a combination of factors like the candidate’s ethnicity, appearance, gender identity, and age. Typically, these assumptions or judgements are made without even realising it which can have major impacts on organisations when present during the hiring process.

How does unconscious bias impact the workplace?

Unconscious bias can greatly limit the talent pool available to the organisation and prevent businesses from building diverse teams. As we live in a diverse, multicultural society, this bias can be a huge disadvantage which can unknowingly shape an organisations culture. Not only this, but research shows companies perform better when their teams are more inclusive. Another impact is losing your top talent due to unfair practices, which then leads to spending more money replacing candidates.

The value of diversity and inclusion

By making diversity and inclusion the core part of your recruitment process, you’re opening your business to new perspectives. This ensures all candidates and employees get equal opportunities, all while building a strong identity within your organisation. Here are some benefits just to name a few:

A more diverse talent pool

76% of job seekers say a company’s commitment to diversity and inclusion is important when considering job offers. So, in saying this, creating a recruitment process that supports diversity will attract a much larger pool of candidates, therefore making the hiring process much easier.

Better performance 

Different cultures and backgrounds working together creates a broader range of skills among employees, allowing ideas to flourish and providing more solutions to challenges. This results in increased team and company performance as well as greater productivity, creativity and innovation.

Higher retention

Employee retention is crucial when running a successful business and should be a major priority for your company. Organisations that cater for diverse environments and different work and learning styles tend to keep their talent invested in their jobs long term, which then leads to greater savings because let’s face it, employee turnover is expensive.

How can you remove unconscious bias from your hiring decisions?

Eliminating unconscious bias is a crucial step towards enhancing your organisation’s diversity. Here are some areas for removing bias next time you are looking for the best talent:

1. Be aware of the unconscious bias in your organisation

Before you can provide a workplace that is inclusive, the first step is to be aware that it exists. It isn’t a nice thought that we have pre-determined ideas which influence our choices but acknowledging it will be the first step forward to creating a more diverse and inclusive culture.

2. Evaluate your recruitment process

The next step is to understand where the business’ bias comes into play. To do this, you need to assess every aspect of your recruitment process regularly, including the wording of your job description, the application process, the interview process, and everything in between. Doing this will allow you to identify any areas that may need improving and help you hire a more diverse team.

3. Introduce blind applications

This may seem too obvious to remove bias from your recruitment process but one of the best ways to ensure that screening is taken seriously is to incorporate blind applications. Removing personal details such as name, age and gender at the application stage means your decisions will be based on skills and experience. By doing this, you are creating a wider talent pool to select candidates from.

4. Set goals for building diversity

Without goals, your company is constantly in the ‘needs improvement’ stage without any real idea of what needs to be changed. Before creating these goals, spend some time to define what diversity means to your organisation and what areas within your recruitment process need improving. Once this is done, you will have a clearer understanding of what diversity and inclusion goals need to be set. Most importantly, ensure that these goals are achievable for your company and set deadlines as you don’t want to be consistently chipping away at them and miss the chance to assess and reflect how you have done.

5. Utilize tools and technology

Lastly, use the latest tools and technology to assist you in eliminating bias from your recruitment process. Recruitment software can assist you with applicant tracking system, parsing candidates CVs, analysing skills assessments before any face-to-face interviews.

It’s important to keep in mind that recruiters play an important role when making hiring decisions, bias aside! We are human after all. Automating parts of your recruitment process is a very useful tool to support these decisions and remove bias where possible to create a fair recruiting process for all with the best possible outcomes.

Get in touch to see how we can assist in removing unconscious bias from your recruitment process.

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