67% of job seekers look for workplace diversity when considering an offer. Diversity within organizations improves collective critical thinking, problem-solving, and innovation. It’s indisputable that diversity across all facets is key to a company’s success. So why is it that so many organizations struggle to attain it? What if I told you that you may be unknowingly deterring talent through unconscious bias in your recruitment process?
What is Unconscious Bias?
Unconscious (or implicit) bias refers to when we have attitudes towards groups of people or associate stereotypes with them without our conscious knowledge. Everyone holds unconscious biases, and this can cloud judgment when it comes to choosing the best job candidates. Unlike conscious bias, people with unconscious bias don’t intend to discriminate. Nonetheless, implicit bias often leads to discrimination on the basis of race, gender, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, national origin, religion, disability, age, veteran status, and other factors.
What Can You Do About It?
Here are some important actions that companies should take to reduce bias in their recruitment process.
Most people don’t intend to act in a discriminatory way. Yet, implicit bias leads to discrimination, which is harmful regardless of intent. You can’t control harboring implicit bias. What you can control, however, is what you do about it. Understanding your own biases will help improve your intentionality and accountability. You can test yourself using Harvard, Virginia, and Washington Universities’ Implicit Association Test.
Set Meaningful and Measurable Diversity Goals
Go beyond hiring quotas. Striving for a company culture that is inclusive and equitable will ultimately be more effective at achieving diversity. Aim for goals that can be tracked. “We want to create an environment where people report feeling equally respected, regardless of race or ethnicity” and “we want to promote women at the same rate as men” are examples of objectives that are both meaningful (reflective of company atmosphere) and measurable (can be monitored utilizing surveys and statistics).
Diversify Your Hiring Panel
It matters who has a voice in recruitment. A diverse hiring panel will help your organization identify blind spots in its recruiting process. Aim for a fair mix of gender identity, cultural diversity, and a broad age range on your panel.
Widen Your Reach
Improving the diversity of your applicant pool is a crucial step toward changing the status quo. There are so many different platforms to help you get the word out about your jobs, including job boards that specifically focus on recruiting diverse talent. Take advantage of them.
Be Intentional About Wording of Job Descriptions
Whether we realize it or not, much of the language we use is gendered. Gender stereotypes are subliminally perpetuated by language choices, and this has real implications when it comes to job descriptions. Women are significantly less likely to apply for jobs that use words that are culturally perceived as masculine like “competitive” or “outspoken”—even in female-dominated fields such as nursing. Thankfully, many tools, including the language-monitoring software Textio, exist to help you rework job descriptions to make them more inclusive.
Only Include Essential Qualifications
Men apply for jobs when they meet 60% of the qualifications, where women only apply for jobs when they meet 100% of the qualifications. This confidence gap leads to many competent women being excluded from the applicant pool. Cultural differences may also make it difficult for qualified individuals to see themselves in positions where the requirements are unnecessarily extensive and specific. It’s important to acknowledge and respect such differences and adapt qualifications to be more welcoming of different cultural contexts. You can even employ tools like IDI Global Assessment to improve your cultural competencies.
Standardize Evaluation of CVs or Resumes
It has been shown that minorities who ‘whiten’ their resumes are more than twice as likely to get called back for an interview than those who reveal their racial background, and these results hold true even for companies that claim to value diversity. To combat this, create a scoring system that takes cold hard facts from a CV or resume and turns them into data that can be evaluated objectively. Where possible, it may also be useful to remove identity-revealing information such as names and photos.
Homogenize the Interview Process
Unstructured interviews can amplify biases. Unconscious bias leads employers to make immediate assumptions, and in unstructured interviews, you may unknowingly spend the rest of the interview trying to confirm these arbitrary first impressions. Sticking to set scripts and evaluation criteria helps ensure that all candidates receive equal opportunity to prove their competencies.
Employ a Work Sample Test
These tasks are a great predictor of future job performance. They also make it easy to compare applicants fairly.
At Quardev we are committed to Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and celebrating our differences. Talk to us about the steps we take to retain this commitment.