Helping a business hire a new employee is an exciting, albeit stressful, time for recruitment agencies. Between writing job descriptions, sifting through resumes, and interviewing potential candidates, there are a lot of steps to complete and things to consider before you recommend a new team member for your clients.
If you’ve been in the recruiting business for a long time, you probably feel pretty comfortable with the qualities that make a good employee as well as the standard procedures that need to take place in order for you to make a final hiring recommendation. But what might not be so obvious to you is your internal biases as a recruiter. Internal biases are a sneaky subject because while you might not think that you have any, there are likely ways that you’re unknowingly contributing to biased hiring in the workforce.
In this article, we’re taking a look at what internal bias is, what it may look like in the workplace, and how you can adjust your recruiting process to get rid of bias for good.
IMPORTANT METRICS ON DIVERSITY IN THE WORKPLACE
Diversity has become less of a perk and more of an expectation in the modern workplace, and the data behind diverse workplaces speaks volumes:
- 57% of employees want to see their company increase diversity
- Companies that hire an equal ratio of men and women had 41% higher revenue
- 78% of people view diversity and inclusion as a competitive advantage
- Teams that demonstrate diversity are 87% better decision makers
From improving productivity to expanding perspectives and profit margins, making an effort to increase diversity in an organization offers endless benefits. Unfortunately, internal biases could be silently standing in the way of your efforts. Use the following tips to remove internal biases from your recruiting process for good.
1. EXAMINE YOUR JOB DESCRIPTIONS AND COMMUNICATION WITH CANDIDATES
Crafting an intriguing and detailed job description is one of the first and most important steps in the hiring process. An exemplary job description should give prospective candidates an accurate view of job duties and prerequisites, but it should also be completely void of any biases.
To make your description inviting to all qualified candidates, avoid using salutations such as “Mr., Mrs., or Ms.”. These titles can alienate an entire population of talented applicants and ultimately, set back your efforts to increase diversity.
Beyond the job description, make sure you also adopt and apply this practice within your communication with candidates moving forward.
2. DEFINE YOUR INTERVIEW QUESTIONS AHEAD OF TIME AND KEEP IT CONSISTENT
Once you’ve selected several candidates who demonstrate the professional skills and interest that your client is searching for, you’ll likely want to invite them to the office or to a virtual interview. But before you do, make sure you take the time to outline your interview questions. Considering these questions ahead of time will help you stay focused on your client’s hiring priorities and prevent any biases from getting in between you hiring the best candidate for your client.
Plus, by asking each interviewee the same set of questions, you can more easily compare each applicant and assess whether they’d be a good fit for the position.
3. USE INTERVIEW PANELS TO GAIN MULTIPLE PERSPECTIVES
Another way you can rethink your interview strategy to eradicate biases is opt for panel interviews rather than solely relying on one-on-one sessions. By including several recruiters in an interview, you’ll naturally get a more diverse perspective on an applicant than if just one individual handles the interview process. What’s more, running panel interviews can help you save time during a lengthy interview process.
To ensure efficiency, provide each panel interviewer with a set of questions to ask — this will help avoid duplicate questions and remove biases. Once the standard questions have been answered, you might encourage interviewers to ask one or two questions of their own in order to get to know the candidate better. And as always, make sure to open up the floor for applicant questions at the end of the interview.
4. TEST YOUR TOP CANDIDATE(S)’ PROFESSIONAL SKILLS
One of the best ways to remove bias from your hiring process is to simply test out your top candidates’
professional skills on the spot — this is especially effective when you’re hiring for positions that require a great deal of education, experience, and training. For example, if your client is hiring copywriters, you might give them a sample writing assignment to determine whether their skill, voice, and tone align with your organization’s needs. Or if your client is hiring an accountant, you might assess their experience using a numeracy skills test.
By considering their professional skills for what they are, you can work toward hiring based on how well the individual can get the job done, rather than making a decision with other variables or biases in mind.
5. COMMIT TO DIVERSITY GOALS
Each of the aforementioned tips can help recruiters adjust their process to eliminate internal biases from finding the perfect candidate for their client. However, in order to keep yourself accountable for increasing diversity within your client’s organization, you may want to identify and commit to some measurable goals. To fortify your efforts, follow these simple steps:
- Post job openings on easily accessible platforms — try to avoid those with paywalls
- Leverage your internal network to find qualified candidates
- Partner up with women and POC-led networking organizations
- Be open-minded about candidates who don’t have the exact skillset, but do demonstrate passion
Increasing diversity for your client’s company has a myriad of benefits that transcend from your internal organization to your reputation as a recruiting agency, and even your profitability. But getting to this point requires some pointed effort to make sure your biases are kept in check — even those which you might not realize you’re perpetuating.
By following the five tips we discussed above, you can rid your recruiting process of bias for good, and foster a more positive and professional work environment for your clients because of it.