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The hiring process is a crucial aspect of any organization, as it determines the quality of the workforce and contributes to the business’s success. Still, despite our best efforts, bias can creep into the recruitment process, particularly in candidate evaluation.

This can lead to missed opportunities to hire talented candidates who may be overlooked due to their race, gender, or other personal characteristics. Create a more inclusive workplace by taking steps to eliminate any biases affecting the recruitment decision.

Let’s look at some strategies to reduce implicit bias in candidate evaluation.

What Is Implicit Bias?

Before discussing reducing implicit bias, we must first touch on what implicit bias is.

Implicit bias refers to the unconscious attitudes, stereotypes, and beliefs that influence our behavior and decisions. These biases are often based on personal experiences, cultural influences, and media portrayals and can be deeply ingrained in our minds.

Despite our best efforts, we are all human, and implicit biases can affect our perceptions of other people, including job candidates. This can lead to discrimination in the hiring process.

Types of Implicit Bias in Recruitment

Several types of implicit bias can affect candidate evaluation during recruitment. Some of these include:

Gender Bias

This bias occurs when candidates are evaluated based on their gender rather than their qualifications and skills. For example, a male candidate may be favored over a female candidate for a leadership position, even if the female candidate has more experience and better qualifications. While it can go differently, gender bias is usually skewed towards favoring men.

Racial Bias

This bias occurs when candidates are evaluated based on race or ethnicity rather than qualifications and skills. For example, a white candidate may be favored over a person of color, despite greater experience and qualifications.

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Confirmation Bias

This bias occurs when recruiters seek evidence confirming their preconceived notions about a candidate rather than objectively evaluating their qualifications and skills. For example, a recruiter may ignore a candidate’s relevant experience because they do not have a degree from a prestigious university.

Strategies to Reduce Implicit Bias in Candidate Evaluation During Recruitment

Reducing implicit bias in candidate evaluation during recruitment requires a multi-pronged approach. While reducing the likelihood of bias creeping into recruitment decisions takes effort, it is not impossible.

Here are some strategies that can be followed to reduce bias in recruitment.

Acknowledge Bias

The first step to reducing implicit bias is to acknowledge that it exists. Recruiters and hiring managers need to recognize that they have their own biases and that these biases can affect their evaluation of candidates.

This can be difficult because recognizing and admitting that they may have internalized a harmful mindset is not easy. However, it is necessary to acknowledge and fix the problem to be able to take steps toward reducing the harm that come from it.

By acknowledging their biases, recruiters can become more conscious of them and take steps to mitigate their impact.

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Use Objective Criteria

To reduce the impact of implicit bias on candidate evaluation, recruiters should use objective criteria to evaluate candidates.

This can include factors such as qualifications, experience, and skills. By focusing on objective criteria, recruiters can ensure that candidates are evaluated based on their abilities rather than subjective factors such as their appearance, name, or background.

Of course, subjective factors may also be considered, but this will require people with varying perspectives to give their input. This leads us to the next strategy.

Use a Diverse Hiring Panel

Having a diverse hiring panel can help reduce bias in candidate evaluation. Each panel member may bring a unique perspective and experience to the evaluation process, which can help ensure that candidates are evaluated fairly.

With different people weighing in – particularly on the more subjective factors of recruitment – hidden bias and prejudice can more easily be brought to the surface and discussed.

A diverse hiring panel can also help identify bias in the evaluation process and take steps to address it. This way, other members of the hiring panel can also identify any bias they may hold – intentionally or unintentionally – and take steps towards reducing it.

Use Blind Resume Screening

Blind resume screening involves removing personal information such as name, gender, and age from resumes during the screening process.

This is useful since any aspects about the candidate that may result in a biased decision will be removed, and they will be judged on their experience and qualifications alone.

This step is also useful since it can help identify candidates who may have been overlooked due to bias.

Use Structured Interviews

To reduce the impact of bias in candidate evaluation, recruiters should use a structured interview process that includes standardized questions to evaluate all candidates.

Such interviews can help ensure that all candidates are evaluated based on the same criteria and that bias does not influence the evaluation process. Structured interviews can also help ensure that all candidates are asked the same questions, which can help recruiters compare candidates objectively.

It’s important to remember that structured interviews should also allow for some flexibility. Being too rigid about the interview’s direction could disadvantage certain candidates since it may not touch on all aspects of their expertise and skill.

It is a good idea to ask questions that candidates can be quantifiably assessed on but leave enough room for some of their individuality to shine through.

Provide Bias Training

Training all employees involved in the recruitment process can help them understand and identify their biases. Training can help them make more objective decisions and reduce the impact of implicit bias on the evaluation process.

Bias training is particularly important when it comes to workplaces with less diversity since members of such a workplace are less likely to notice any implicit bias they may hold. With training, they may be able to understand the importance of diversity and inclusion and take steps to reduce any bias they hold.

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Monitor the Process

Regularly monitoring the recruitment process can help identify any biases and take steps to address them. This can help ensure that the recruitment process is fair and inclusive. While some biased decisions may be made unconsciously, others may involve explicit bias, and dealing with this is important to ensure it doesn’t happen again.

Monitoring the process can also help identify areas where improvements can be made, such as increasing diversity in the candidate pool or changing the questions that candidates are asked during interviews.

While these strategies can help, reducing implicit bias in candidate evaluation during recruitment is a continuous process that requires ongoing effort and commitment from all organization members.

If you’re looking to reduce implicit bias in the recruitment process, getting help from an expert can be useful. Cochran, Cochran & Yale provide recruitment consultant ny and can help you identify any issues and take steps to eliminate them. Contact New York Executive Headhunters NY now for more information.