10 Tips to Avoid Hiring Bias

News and insights for job seekers and hiring managers.

10 Tips to Avoid Hiring Bias

Hiring bias poses a real problem for many businesses. Many hiring managers focus on the first impression of the candidate rather than their skills. They also have the tendency to seek out and hire candidates who are similar to themselves in some way. In many cases, this can stop you from hiring someone who is qualified for the job. Below are some tips for employers to avoid hiring bias.

1. Define the Job, Not the Person

 Many employers make the mistake of describing the ideal candidate in their job posting instead of defining the job and key tasks. When you take the time to define performance objectives for the position, you will receive a more diverse candidate pool. During the interview, when you speak about previous experience, it will be proven that they have handled similar work in the past and whether or not they can be successful in this position.

2. Hop on a Quick Phone Call First

 When you perform an initial phone screen of a potential candidate, it helps eliminate any bias that would arise from a physical interview. During this call, focus on whether or not they will be a good general fit for the position.

3. Treat Interviewees as Consultants

 A highly-educated consultant often gets a certain level of respect, even if you don’t wind up working with them in the long-run. Offer individuals interviewing with you the same respect. You will know whether they are good for the job or not by the end of the interview.

4. Utilize Panel Interviews

 Panel interviews can also help avoid hiring bias. Assign each interviewer on the panel a role in the process. For instance, have them ask about experience pertaining to their department specifically or leave them to ask about a specific set of skills you are looking for. When there are multiple people involved, it is hard for bias to take place.

5. Script Your Interview Process

 Having a script for your interview process can help decrease bias as well. You can create a list of pre-scripted questions for interviewers to use when a potential candidate comes in. It also decreases the risk of interviewers allowing their emotional responses to a candidate’s answer to take precedence.

6. Avoid Snap Decisions  

Try to avoid making any decisions about the candidate until 30 minutes into the interview. As mentioned above, use a script and ask each candidate the same questions. Try to avoid making any immediate judgments.

7. Inquire About Experience and Competency

Require each of the people you interview to provide evidence of their experience and accomplishments. You can also ask about their motivation in the industry. Keep a scorecard for each candidate you interview and compare your notes from each about these things. 

8. Don’t Measure the First Impression Until the End

Wait until the end of the interview to gauge the first impression. Many people can be awkward at the beginning of an interview but warm up over time. After all, you are supposed to be focused on their skills and not the first impression you have of them.

9. Make Note of Your Biases

In general, people get more uptight when they come in contact with a candidate they aren’t a huge fan of. Each time you meet someone new who is interviewing with your company, make note of your initial reactions. Oftentimes, people will seek out positive traits in individuals they like off the bat and look for negative things about interviewees who they don’t like as much. You can become more neutral in your biases by making note of this and reversing your logic. This means you will look for negative things in the candidates you favor and positive traits in those you didn’t.

10. Work With a Staffing Agency

Partnering with a recruitment firm can help you avoid hiring bias as well. You can tap into their talent pool and reach more potential candidates than you may have been able to previously. Staffing agencies can help you identify your needs and put the best potential employees for the job in front of you without any bias.

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