Hiring managers face many challenges when it comes to finding the right candidates for a job. One of the biggest challenges is addressing unconscious bias in your hiring practices. Unconscious bias can lead to decisions that are not based on merit and can prevent you from finding the best candidate for the job. In this blog post, we will discuss what unconscious bias is and how you can address it in your hiring process. We will also provide some tips for avoiding unconscious bias in your decision-making.
What is Unconscious Bias?
Unconscious bias, otherwise known as implicit bias, is attitudes or prejudices that are held subconsciously and affect how people view others around them. In the hiring process, unconscious bias is an inclination or feeling about a candidate that we have when deciding if he or she is a good fit for the job. This bias could be based on anything from hairstyle to clothing to the neighborhood he or she lives in. For example, if the applicant went to an Ivy League university, we may assume that he or she is successful and will be a good candidate for the position. There are three primary types of bias to look out for in the hiring process: affinity bias, attribution bias, and confirmation bias.
Affinity bias, or similarity bias, happens when we hire people simply because they are like us or other people we like. Similarities can be anything from appearance, schooling, or any other shared characteristics. Affinity bias in hiring can lead hiring managers to onboard individuals that they may get along well with but are not fit for the job in terms of experience or skills. This can harm the growth of the business.
Attribution bias occurs when we assume the reasons behind an applicant’s accomplishments or experiences. This typically occurs when we assume a candidate’s successes are due to luck or family connections rather than skill. This type of unconscious bias can lead hiring managers to disregard talented, qualified candidates.
Confirmation bias occurs when we make decisions and assumptions about people based on our own beliefs and experiences. In other words, we often interpret new evidence and experiences as a confirmation of our existing beliefs. In the hiring process, this looks like allowing first impressions to dictate our long-term feelings toward an applicant. While first impressions are important, it is equally important to take first impressions with a grain of salt.
Bias wires our brains to take shortcuts to help us make faster decisions. While this may seem helpful, the problem is that bias gets in the way of viewing the facts truthfully. Bad hiring decisions cost at least 30% of the individual’s first-year salary. The first step to addressing unconscious bias in the workplace is identifying it.
How to Identify Unconscious Bias in the Decision-Making Process?
To identify unconscious bias in your hiring process, look at your previous hires and how long they stayed in their position. Identify characteristics of candidates that were hired and left their position quickly. There is likely to be a pattern in what types of applicants you hire. Once you identify these patterns, you can institute processes to avoid this bias.
Steps to Address Unconscious Bias in Your Hiring Process
After you identify the unconscious bias, the first step is to make a list of qualities you are looking for in a candidate. Include specific skill sets, education criteria, or experiential criteria. Be sure to divide your list into “must haves” and “wants” so you can keep an open mind. For example, if you are hiring someone for a remote position, you may need someone with a flexible schedule and want someone who lives in the area. Knowledge and experience are great indicators of an applicant’s fitness for a position, but it is also important to remember that having a desire to learn is equally important. Finding a candidate who may not have the exact qualifications you are looking for but is willing and eager to learn may be better than a candidate who does have the qualifications but is stuck in his ways.
Using behavioral-based interviewing is a great way to combat unconscious bias. Behavioral interviews ask candidates to share examples of situations in which they have used certain skills. This type of interview allows hiring managers to get a more realistic and genuine sense of the applicant. Additionally, using multiple interviewers can prevent unconscious bias.
Hiring a recruiting agency takes the burden of the hiring process off of your HR staff. A recruiting agency can help you create a realistic staffing plan that works for your business.
Creating a More Diverse and Inclusive Workplace
Diversity in the workplace has many benefits. Diversity can boost creativity and innovation in your company. With more diversity and inclusivity in backgrounds, life experiences, and identities, your company will be exposed to fresh perspectives that will bring new ideas to the business. Diversity also creates greater opportunities for growth for the company. Research shows that 32% of job seekers would not apply to a company with a lack of diversity. Additionally, a study done by Harvard Business Review shows that diverse companies can capture up to 70% more markets than companies with very little diversity. Finally, diversity in the workplace leads to better decision-making in the organization. Diverse teams offer more perspectives which allow the company to make smarter decisions.
Luckily, there are laws in place, like Equal Opportunity and Title IX, that prevent bias based on race, gender, physical ability, religion, and other attributes. These policies seek to create a more diverse workplace. Even with these laws, bias still occurs. It takes work and time to address unconscious bias in business practices.
Resources for Understanding and Addressing Unconscious Bias in the Workplace
Unconscious bias can have a significant impact on the hiring process. Therefore, it’s important to be aware of it and take steps to address it. If you’re looking for help addressing unconscious bias in your workplace, there are several resources available. A good place to start is by contacting Techbridge, a recruiting agency that specializes in diversity and inclusion. We can provide you with guidance and support as you work to create a more diverse and inclusive workforce.
How Can TechBridge Help?
Techbridge is an IT staffing and recruiting agency dedicated to helping you build your dream team. Our goal is to bridge the gap between business and employee, matching qualified workers with the companies who need them. Contact us today if you have any further questions or are ready to start the recruiting process.