Each organization conducts hiring differently. Some use informal hiring processes and pay a great deal of attention to whether the candidate is of similar background and has similar interests to existing staff, and whether they will fit in with the others in the organization. Some organizations have more formal hiring processes, but may allow managers to consider a range of factors unrelated to the candidate's skills and abilities to do the job. In many organizations, unconscious biases play a role in the selection of new employees, and racial and gender stereotypes may influence who is hired into which positions.
In this blog series I have been exploring unconscious bias in the workplace. In the last blob post, I explored how unconscious bias plays out in the hiring process. This time, we'll explore how what hiring managers can do to minimize bias in the hiring process.
First of all, those involved in the hiring process need to reflect on their biases in order to identify them. This can be done in the following ways:
1. Increase your self-awareness: The first step to minimizing the impact of your biases in hiring is to be aware of these biases. Harvard's Implicit Association Test is an online tool to help you explore your biases. You can access it at: https://implicit.harvard.edu/implicit/education.html
2. Explore your thoughts and feelings: Explore your thoughts and any feelings of discomfort you may have when interacting with people from diverse communities, backgrounds and identities. This will help you identify any biases you may have.
Throughout this series I have been exploring unconscious bias. In the first blog post, I introduced you to unconscious bias. We then looked at the impact of unconscious bias in the workplace. This time, we'll explore how unconscious bias plays out in the hiring process.
Despite an increasingly diverse labour market, women, racialized people (visible minorities), Aboriginal people, and persons with disabilities continue to experience higher rates of unemployment and under-employment, even with equivalent levels of education. The outcomes for these groups provide evidence of the systemic and interpersonal discrimination they continue to experience in the labour market.
While it is important for organizations to review their hiring process to ensure that it focuses on assessing the candidate's skills and abilities, it is also important that those on the hiring panel understand the impact of their biases on the process and the hiring decision.
In this post, I'll review the 13 types of unconscious biases that impact the process and hiring decisions. These biases are summarized here and discussed below:
A large part of my consulting practice is helping organizations implement bias-free hiring practices. This means helping them develop the policies, practices, tools and knowledge to look past the superficial so that they can assess each candidate based on their skills and abilities to do the job.
When managers are able to focus on the candidate's skills and abilities, they can truly hire the best person for the job. For people who belong to groups who experience systemic and persistent discrimination in the labour market, e.g., racial minorities, Aboriginal people, persons with disabilities and women, it is important to help the person reviewing your resume focus on your skills and abilities.
Tana Turner is Principal of Turner Consulting Group Inc. She has over 25 years of experience in the area of equity, diversity and inclusion.