Category Archives: Culture

8 Ways to Eliminate Hiring Bias During Interviews

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.

hiring bias during job interviewIn 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.

Finding the Perfect Incentive for Top Performers

Employee_incentiveIs there a perfect employee incentive?

Well, not all employee incentives are created equal. Employee incentives are to reward top performers.

That is the point! Just like a diverse workplace, incentives can take any shape—from the occasional treat or paid meal, to days off, vacations and extra income.

The best incentives should be like your best employees —innovative, motivating and willing to support the entire team to advance to new heights. Developing an effective reward system should be as valuable as your top performers.

Reward Programs Promote Empowerment

The key to an employee reward program is to promote a sense of empowerment and ownership. Hard work equals more profits, so employees should be able to share in profits, as well as receive individual recognition for their performance.

The first thing is to make employee incentives, rewards and recognition public and highly visible! Everyone in the workplace should understand that the company values good work and rewards high performance.

Concrete evidence of the company’s appreciation of top performers will provide each employee a sense they are working for something than the benefit of senior management.  The result is a more motivated, energized and enthusiastic work force—the perfect recipe for high productivity.

Employee Recognition Equals Employee Engagement

As one of the most powerful tools in the business world, incentive programs can improve the overall quality of employees, more than almost any other factor. When employees are adequately recognized and engaged, they will take less sick days, they are less likely to leave, more flexible and much, much more valuable.

Faced with sagging performance in customer service, American Express needed a change to motivate its call centers. After attempting several plans, with limited success, company leaders came upon a truly brilliant idea. They began providing a revamped benefits package: more pay, flextime and clear recondition for higher performance.

Almost instantaneously, American Express call centers reacted positively, with a 10 percent increase in processing customer calls.

Paid vacations are another popular employee motivation for to reward highest performers.

A paid trip—perhaps costing up to a few thousand dollars—can seem like an extravagantly expensive premium. However, when you crunch the numbers, an investment in employees, by setting an example for all employees to shoot for, becomes money well spent.

The ROI of Employee Incentives

Employee incentive plans—vacations and trips—can have much more “bang for the buck” than a one-off cash bonus. After a time, a single $2500 gift may lose its appeal (especially after it is spent).

However, apply that same $2500 (or even a little less) to a getaway for a top performer, and he or she will return to work with a “glow,” something that will spread throughout a department—or the whole company.

What is a better motivation for a company to get more out of its people? Everyone will need to be the next one on a company-paid holiday!

A well-executed incentive program pays for itself. Spending money on employees provides a return on investment with higher productivity, less sick days taken, improved compliance and better overall morale.

A company can combine the ROI by having the top two (three or more) performing employees take a weekend trip together. When the best employees are enjoying themselves in the same place, who knows what extraordinary things can happen? This makes it a networking opportunity, a way to build relationships and maybe even come up with the next impressive business idea.

Find The Perfect Employee Incentive Program For You!

Not every business can give their best employees paid trips as a way to thank them for their hard work. No matter direction you take your employee incentive program, it should be created to fit your top performers. More importantly, a rewards program should be a highly visible demonstration of their value to your business success.

Of course, employee incentive programs begin with talented employees! Recruiting hiring and onboarding the best talent starts with organization—developing a strategy to cut through the clutter and get the right people for the job.