Let’s not twist the facts - people are, by nature, biased. Even people who say, “I’m not biased,” can be biased. This is perfectly natural because experiences instinctively shape viewpoints (also called stereotypes), depending upon what one has experienced (in the past) and will unconsciously shape a person’s opinions (in the future). Unconscious biases, therefore, work on people much like gravity: you can’t see it, but that doesn’t mean it’s not working.
Biases are not only unfair, they can actually stymie corporate innovation and performance, which limits corporate profit.
Biases in hiring have been, not surprisingly, tested with studies, also proving that all kinds of biases creep into unstructured hiring processes and interviews, ranging from whether or not a woman wore a headscarf to the interview or to the very names of the candidates being rejected, all before their resume qualifications were even considered (see a study called: “Are Emily and Greg more employable than Lakisha and Jamal: A Field Experiment on Labor Market Discrimination”). These studies show biases, such as ageism, sexism, racism, religious favoritism, and even “nameism,” exist in the workplace. Outside of stereotypical biases, other biases are unconsciously at work, for example:
- People tend to hire people similar to themselves - the Similarity-Attraction Effect says that people are more positive about people when they share a familiarity of some sort. Conversely, people feel more negative about a dissimilar person, regardless of qualifications.
- People are suspicious of anyone who they perceive may threaten their status. This could be anything from “fear of hiring your replacement” and neglecting to properly train to “fear that someone is more qualified” and thus purposely hiring for incompetence.
Therefore, it should be obligation of every business owner and stakeholder to reduce unconscious biases during the hiring process. In a perfect world, everyone is evaluated solely for their professional qualifications, yet we know prejudice exists and causes us to “pre-judge,” but there are a few ways to combat biases in hiring:
#1 - Change the way you make hiring decisions
Relying on outdated methods like the typical resume review, traditional interviews, and gut instinct to make your hiring decisions can limit your success. To reduce bias, to increase the quality of hires, and to create an inclusionary corporate culture, attracting top talent requires changing the way you make decisions. Although it’s impossible to completely eliminate hiring bias completely, changing the way you make decisions by replacing gut instincts with predictive analytics may help you discover a new driver of increased profits.
#2- Use Predictive Analytics as a Basis for Your Hiring Decisions
Predictive Analytics, like behavior-based assessments and best practice behavioral benchmarks, level the playing field using behavioral data and predictive algorithms. Assessments, like PeopleKeys’ DISC style report, can predict which candidates will be most likely to excel based off of behavioral benchmarks from top performers in that role.
DISC Assessments are blind to demographics like name, age, race, religious affiliation, etc. and concentrate on only observable behavioral data like:
- How likely a person will perform in a given role
- How likely a person will be fulfilled and satisfied by the nature of their work
Other variables, such as skills, education, and experience, should be considered. All things being equal, the behavioral and cultural fit of the candidate should be used for hiring decisions.
#3 - Use a Structured Interview Process
Research has found that structured interviews are more predictive of on-the-job performance.
A standard set of questions for each candidate should be asked to make it fair and objective. If you see a candidate scores low in a necessary behavioral dimension, you can ask specific open-ended interview questions (suggested questions are included in your DISC hiring report) to try to expand on that behavioral dimension in the candidate’s own words.
#4 – Use a customizable Applicant Tracking System
Hiring shouldn’t take all of your time. To hire right, you would need to fully understand the nature of the work, skills, qualifications, and behavior needed for a given role prior to posting a job and conducting interviews. PeopleKeys® provides businesses the tools needed for reducing bias when hiring. Using PeopleKeys’ predictive hiring products, as well as Repcruit® - an Applicant Tracking System (ATS) equipped with PeopleKeys® patent-pending predictive hiring technology, with added behavioral benchmarks for a chosen job role, you can behaviorally screen and rank candidates, and also have your job posting published live. For businesses in need of an all-inclusive and affordable sourcing to hiring platform solution, try Repcruit®, powered by PeopleKeys.