Diversity and bias are big conversation topics in the hiring space recently. Organizations have appointed new heads of diversity, equity, and inclusion to lead out in improvement efforts, and they’re serious about making our workplace a better environment for marginalized groups. This work is so important and impactful for the future of our world. It also helps our organizations run better overall—with a more diverse workforce, you can see a 15-35% increase in your financial performance.
If you’re looking to create a more inclusive workplace, here are a few tips to consider:
1. Start with a diverse hiring team
A diverse hiring team reduces the potential for bias by welcoming people with differing opinions into the decision making process. If just one person makes all of your hiring decisions, or even a very small group of people, it’s easier to let preconceived ideas and judgments influence the decision.
Ideally, each candidate should interact with a recruiter, a hiring manager, some of their potential team members, someone from another team, and someone from outside of the organization that knows the position. All of these people will have specific knowledge about the job and can discuss their thoughts with the rest of the members of the hiring team to make sure each hire is decided by merit, not prejudice.
2. Use consistent skill screenings
Another great way to make the best hiring decisions is by focusing on your candidates’ skills, rather than their achievements. When it really comes down to it, achievements don’t tell the whole story of a person’s ability. And favoring certain experiences and learning opportunities over others is a sneaky way for bias to enter the hiring process.
A better way to learn whether or not your applicants can do the job right is to test their skills during the hiring process with objective, bias-free assessments. The only way to truly do this is to leave skill screenings to technology, rather than hiring a person to do it.
People are very valuable in the hiring process, but they’re not really built to evaluate others’ objective skills. Humans are better judges of subjective abilities, like empathy, cultural fit in an organization, and relatability skills. When you’re screening for hard skills, results have to be objective, consistent, error-free, and automated to deliver fair and reliable results. And you can only do that with a modern, software-based solution.
3. Standardize your interview questions
Another important step you can take is to standardize all of your interview questions. If recruiters and hiring managers ask questions “off the cuff,” it’s easier to deliver an unfair interview process to marginalized candidates. Even the most well-meaning interviewers are subject to letting unconscious biases influence their opinions of your candidates and the direction of the meetings.
If you want an easy and effective way to keep bias out of your hiring process, standardized questions are a great step to take. When each candidate answers the same questions, your hiring teams can make better, more honest and merit-based hiring decisions.
4. Take control of your diversity data
Another great way to prioritize diversity in your hiring process is through gathering and analyzing important data for yourself. A good place to start is to gather demographic information for all of your current employees, including ones in leadership positions. You should also be proactive about gathering this data for the future, by keeping track of it in your applicant tracking system (ATS).
Now that you know where you stand with your current workforce, you can establish goals and benchmarks for greater diversity in your organization and evaluate your efforts to make that happen. As you track the data over time, you’ll be able to show your stakeholders that you’re invested in bias-free hiring and that you care about improving.
5. Find or create a reference guide
My last tip is to start depending on a bias hiring reference guide, like this one. If you’re just starting out, you might want to purchase one that someone else has made, specifically someone that’s part of a marginalized group and truly understands what makes the most impact in creating positive change.
Once you know your organization, your hiring demographics, and the processes that truly work for you in eliminating bias, you can create your own, internal reference guide for hiring. This is a great way to show both current and future clients that you’re serious about prioritizing diversity in hiring.
I hope these five quick tips have helped you to understand some key areas for eliminating bias and prejudice in your organization, even though it can seem like quite a daunting task. Small, consistent changes over time will deliver big results later on as you seek to build a stronger, more diverse workforce and win, grow, and retain business for your organization.
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