A Business Guide: Removing Bias in Your Hiring Process


In an ideal business setting, the hiring decisions will depend on the abilities of the candidates to perform the work. The recruitment must be approached in a way that is free from unconscious bias. The most common hiring biases are heuristics, halo effect, similarity attraction bias, expectation anchor, confirmation bias, illusory correlation, and overconfidence bias.

While most of these are considered unconscious biases, HR leaders claim that it’s not always the case. In some cases, hiring managers make assumptions based on their personal preferences and background. They select talent they have a good feeling about. To avoid bias in your hiring process, below are some strategies you can consider.

Leverage skills examinations

Some companies simply eliminate applicants just by looking at their college degree requirements. This action makes you lose talented individuals that would’ve been perfect for the role. To eliminate this kind of recruitment bias, implement a skill-based hiring process. A crucial part of this is using reliable pre-employment skill and talent tests. These exams can help you assess the candidates based on their skills and knowledge about the position and not their degree. For instance, an applicant may not have formal education but has years of practical experience in the field. By using skill-based testing, candidates with such qualifications will be given the opportunity to get the job.

Do the resume review blind

Another popular method of removing bias in the hiring process is blind hiring. This guides hiring managers to focus on the specific qualifications and talents of the candidates, and not on their demographic qualities. Hiring managers often bring out unconscious bias when looking at details like applicants’ names. This instance eliminates the importance of other information such as educational background and work histories.

You can prevent unconscious bias in your recruitment by creating a blind systematic process when reviewing resumes or applications. Details such as the applicant’s name, age, and other information that could trigger discrimination will not influence the hiring decisions. If you’ll be using written exercises for the hiring process, it’s best not to include data fields such as name, education level, or demographic details. Contact information is enough to get in touch with applicants that pass the interview or tests.

Standardize the interview

job interview

In most setups, hiring managers and their teams ask questions as they see fit. While this isn’t technically wrong, it may promote unconscious biases. Reading the room as you see it is a clear sign of not having a standard interview process. If you want to be more systematic and accurate about the recruitment decision, standardizing the interviews can help. This ensures that every assessor will follow the same framework when making decisions and ranking the applicants.

Using the same questions can also help you distinguish the most likable applicants from the real talented candidates. Keep the interview professional by minimizing funny questions and ice breakers. You can save that for later.

Consider diversity goals

The diversity goals you have for your workplace are crucial for eliminating bias in the recruitment process. Creating and implementing diversity in your organization can lead to several business advantages. These include improved creativity and productivity, increased employee engagement and cultural insights, better profits, a broader range of skills, and reduced employee turnover.

Some diversity goals you can focus on are more women, younger candidates, more ethnic minorities, and older applicants. No matter what or how many goals you want to achieve, make it clear and share it with everyone in the company. You can also include such criteria in your job descriptions. Just don’t go overboard to prevent creating controversies with groups that are traditional or not diverse.

Eliminate gendered wording

A recruitment process that allows gendered wording is likely to promote bias. The gender implications of words you use on your job descriptions play a significant role in your hiring process. For example, using masculine-coded language can put off female applicants. Masculine-coded works include driven, adventurous, active, confident, superior, and determined. Feminine-coded language includes responsible, kind, understanding, affectionate, connected, compassionate, enthusiastic, and together.

If you want to promote gender equality in your organization, carefully review the job descriptions before releasing them. This ensures both male and female candidates will be encouraged to apply for the job.

Neglecting biases in your recruitment process doesn’t just lead to less diverse teams. It can also cost you great talent and money. By following these tips, you’re not only minimizing unconscious bias in hiring. You are also diversifying your workplace, equipping your company with the best talent, and increasing your revenue.