Finding the perfect candidate has always been a challenge. Hiring bias, by emotionally and subjectively judging candidates, does not make these complex hiring decisions any easier.
In a competitive marketplace, the best way for business to thrive is by hiring the right people. A candidate that is not a good fit can have a negative effect that ripples throughout the entire company.
Not only can poor hiring be responsible for things like lost sales, revenues or profits, they can also potentially affect the efficiency of the whole workplace.
Hiring Bias Is a Major Problem
Hiring bias is a problem that hamstrings the process. In the end, prejudice in hiring hurts everyone—the company, its employees and reputation.
Prejudice in hiring is nothing new. However, prevalence of hiring bias—a hiring manager allowing emotion to influence the outcome of an interview—has turned into a substantial problem for companies of every size. Businesses are clearly at risk when they continue noncompliant hiring and interview procedures.
Hiring Bias on the Rise
In the 12-month period from October 2011 to September 2012, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) received nearly 100,000 claims of prejudice in hiring. One can only imagine the number of incidents that go unreported. With more charges making way to the EEOC, and millions of dollars in fines assessed to irresponsible companies, hiring bias has arrived in the federal spotlight.
Benchmarking Helps Curb Prejudices
One way to help reduce bias in hiring is by benchmarking. Companies use benchmarking to define job descriptions clearly as a way to rank each candidate objectively—eliminating the majority of subjective judgment that leads to charges of prejudice. This modern benchmarking process identifies competencies, behaviors, and motivators required for each one of the jobs a company looks to fill.
Benchmarking is a powerful tool which ensures your business will hire the best candidates—fairly and objectively. Here are 8 tangible ways you can combat hiring bias in your organization.
Eight Ways to Eliminate Bias in Interviews:
1. Be crystal-clear on the jobs you need to fill.
It is necessary to start with a complete, clearly written job description, knowing exactly why the job exists and how the company measures success in the jobs. Hiring managers should also know the history of the position and how each of the jobs fit into the company’s overall business strategy.
2. Start with an extensive phone interview.
After benchmarking a job description, and establishing a ranking system using objective qualifications, begin the process with a 30-minute phone interview prior to an in-person meeting. Not only will this support the rankings, but also it will help reduce anxiety when the candidate actually comes in for a face-to-face interview.
3. Wait at least 30 minutes in the interview before deciding.
Before you make any decision during an interview, wait about 30 minutes after the interview starts. This delay will help reduce the impact of first impressions. This will allow time to discover that the good may not be as impressive as you first thought, and the bad is not so terrible.
4. Do not do-it-yourself; have a hiring team.
A second interviewer—or group of interviewers—removes a lot of emotion from the process, with fewer opportunities for bias in filling jobs.
5. No one person on the hiring team gets a full “Yea” or “Nay.”
Both benchmarking and candidate ranking make hiring less subjective. In the interview, use a similar procedure. If using two interviewers (or more), each should be responsible for ranking two or three different factors. After the interview, team members use evidence and facts to support their rankings.
6. Be harder on the people you love.
Often, when an interviewer likes a candidate, they relax, ignore negatives and start asking “softball” questions. Do not be afraid to ask well-liked candidates questions that are more difficult. Dig a little deeper into their experience and qualifications.
7. Stick with the facts.
Stop using emotionally-charged words to describe the interview—words like “think,” “feel,” “good” (or “bad”) personality and “soft skills.” These, and other words, hint at emotion and prejudice—a path leading to charges of favoritism. If hiring managers uses those words frequently, it is a hint they are not applying the right filters during the interview. When employers stick with facts and concrete evidence, they remain objective and avoid claims of prejudice.
8. Take time in the interview.
Hiring and interview tools, such as Ovation’s candidate ranking feature, can speed up the overall process considerably. That does not say an employer can shorten interviews. Each member of the hiring team should individually spend 30-40 minutes with the candidate, or organize a group interview lasting at least an hour. To arrive at a fair hiring decision, simply add up the rankings from each interviewer.
Bias Begins With Human Nature
We are all human, and we naturally seek out evidence supporting our initial reactions to a candidate. They also filter out contradictory information, sometimes unconsciously. Reducing bias in hiring begins by recognizing that bias is a part of human nature.
Technology Removes Bias In Hiring
Ovation Technologies’ innovative hiring tool takes the guesswork out of the hiring process. Benchmarking transforms a standard description of jobs into a set of key accountabilities within the organization. Ovation prioritizes and weighs key accountabilities, using them as the focal point for an interview.
Ovation grades candidates, providing reference points to define the appropriate candidates for the selection, interview and coaching process.
Using technology to rank candidates objectively, taking the time in making a hiring decision and requiring interviewers to justify assessments with evidence allow every company to take one more step toward eliminating hiring bias.