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Ever wondered why CEOs are mostly male and why the number of female employees is lesser than the male employees? Or why most managers are tall people? Why certain organizations have policies against hiring people from certain religious backgrounds?
Bias – conscious and most often unconscious – is a vice that many organizations have been trying to remove from their hiring processes. But do they really succeed? And what does it really take to remove bias? The first step is recognizing biases. Here’s how organizations can do it.
How can you find out if your organization has a biased hiring process?
The Harvard Business Review shares the simplest, yet most effective ways in which organizations could begin removing biases.
Try to understand what hiring prejudices are and how they manoeuvre into your hiring processes. Some ways of brining awareness are: educate your employees and train them on the topic. This will help each employee understand and identify unconscious biases.
Rework job descriptions
One of the first places to begin is the job description. It provides the first impression of an organization’s culture. Research reveals that words like ‘collaborative’ and ‘cooperative’ attract more applications from female candidates. Do this: Choose the right kind of words. The job should sound and read inclusive.
Have blind resume reviews
Focus on the candidates’ qualifications, skills and talents rather than demographic characteristics. This will help you include the most relevant and deserving candidates for the interview process without any biases.
Give a sample test to candidates
Sample tests are one of the best indicators of the candidate’s future performance. This will help you compare the available candidates on the basis of their work and not just simply on the basis of their CVs. A skill test will force you (employer) to critique the quality of a candidate’s work versus unconsciously judging them based on appearance, gender, age or even personality.
Set diversity goals
Make a conscious effort to employ people of different nationalities, gender, communities, social and religious backgrounds, appearance and other such deciding factors. This will automatically remove the chances or occurrences of biases in your hiring process.
Standardize the interview process
Research revealed that unstructured interviews that did not have defined questions for the particular job role often let unconscious biases and prejudices seep in the hiring decisions. When one does not have a focused approach in the interview process, the chances of other factors influencing the decisions are much higher. Do this: Prepare relevant questions before the interview process to gauge the candidate’s abilities for that particular role.
Avoid depending on likeability
It is natural to gravitate towards a person if you share common interests or generally have a first impression of liking a person. But that does not mean a person is capable of the job. Ask yourself this: Does it matter whether you like the person you hire? And how important is it to you?
Can background verification agencies help?
Certainly; to some extent and in ways that the organizations might not be able to do, internally. Background check agencies in India offer professional services that complement organizations’ hiring processes. The information gathered by the background agencies through data checks, education verification or reference checks could be used to tally with the findings from the interview processes. It is possible that the interviewer’s unconscious biases lead him/her to discard a truly deserving candidate. But a positive report by the background verification agency for that candidate can change the organization’s decision.
Removing biases is a long-term process but could begin with small steps.
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