Diversity, equality, and inclusion (DE&I) have never been more important. Especially since organizations are seeing the value of having a diverse workforce to increase innovation, productivity, and overall profitability. But we believe that there is a big difference between diversity hiring and hiring for diversity. We want to show recruiters and hiring teams the benefits of not allowing unconscious biases to interfere with the recruitment process. Because when done right, diversity hiring practices can promote openness and belonging. Which leads to a more inclusive hiring approach, where candidates with the right competencies quickly can be identified.
Diversify your recruitment and find hidden talent
– The difference between diversity hiring and hiring for diversity
– Why is diversity hiring important?
– How biases can affect you during a job interview
– Types of Interview bias and how to eliminate them
– How to remove unconscious bias from the hiring process
– 5 ways to avoid interviewing bias
– Tengai is leveling the playing field
The difference between hiring for diversity and diversity hiring
Today, we know that diverse companies perform better and are more profitable. But there are still many common misconceptions of how to become truly diverse. We believe that in order to create a company-culture where people feel included, you need to start from the beginning.
Hiring for diversity is often referred to when companies recruit more diverse employees by simply cherry picking candidates that seem diverse in comparison to the current state of employees. Diversity hiring, on the other hand, is should be the result of a fair recruitment process that is focused on fairness and selecting future colleagues based on their competencies. To do so it is especially important to eliminate unconscious biases from effecting early stages of the recruitment process. So job-seekers can be assessed in a fair way.
In addition to being a piece of the puzzle in creating sustainable results within your organization. When diversity hiring is a forced decision, it only leads to misplaced candidates who may not be the right fit for the role. What might benefit from forced decision however, is using unbiased recruitment methods so everyone in the process is aligned and involved.
Use the praxis of diversity hiring you will have a much wider range of candidates. They will be based on merit with special care taken to ensure procedures have reduced biases. Especially those related to the candidates age or gender, color of skin, religion, sexual orientation, socio-economic background. Or other personal characteristics that are unrelated to work performances.
Why is diversity hiring important?
It increases your workforce’s range of skills, talents & experiences. And as such, hiring for diversity will help you better understand your customers’ needs. The more diverse your workforce is, the greater the chances are that your employees will be able to cater to individual customer needs.
According to McKinsey & Company’s report Diversity Wins (2020), organizations with greater levels of diversity are reported to achieve better financially. As well as being more innovative and creative. Especially when given the right conditions and leadership. This makes a strong business case for diversity hiring. It also motivates why every organization, regardless which industry or size, should put considerable efforts creating a fair recruitment process.
How biases can affect you during a job interview
In the hiring process, unconscious bias happens when you form an opinion about candidates based solely on first impressions. Or, when you prefer one candidate over another simply because the first one seems like someone you’d easily hang out with outside of work.
Even in the early hiring stages, a candidate’s resume picture, their name, or their hometown could influence your opinion more than you think. In short, unconscious bias influences your decision – whether positively or negatively – using criteria irrelevant to the job.
(Un)conscious bias is costing you money and talent – Biased hiring decisions result in less diverse teams. And less diversity hinders your business productivity. “If you literally just put it into Google, you find article after article and research piece after research piece that says businesses perform better when they have greater ethnic and gender diversity,” Matt explains, “more diverse companies produce more revenue.”
Types of interview bias and how to eliminate them
Looking at a recently published study based on 2000 managers, 33% only needed 90 seconds to decide who they wanted to hire. This highlights how influential our preconceived opinions are and how they can affect hiring outcomes. Here are some of the most common cognitive biases:
Central tendency bias
When evaluating a number of individuals using a consistent rating system, many individuals will rate most of them in the middle of that scale. This inclination to perceive most individuals as average is known as the central tendency bias.
Contrast effect bias
The contrast effect bias occurs when an interviewer compares a candidate to the individual who interviewed before them. If a strong candidate interviews after a person who is less qualified, for example, it might magnify the interviewer’s perception of the strong candidate’s abilities.
Cultural noise bias
Interviewers’ and candidates’ perceptions of attitudes and ideas that are considered socially acceptable may impact their communication in an interview. This often occurs when a candidate provides answers they believe are most generally appropriate in place of their own true opinions.
First impression bias
Interviewers may use their first perception of a candidate to shape their impression of that individual. First impression bias occurs when a candidate’s behaviors and presentation in the first few moments of an interview impact the remainder of their interview or even affect the hiring decision.
When an interviewer meets with an individual once during an interview, they may extend the candidates interview behaviors to their general personality and outlook. This is known as generalization bias.
Variable questioning bias
Interviewers might change their questions from one interview to the next based on conscious or unconscious perceptions of each candidate. Asking different questions of different candidates may reflect or lead to bias.
Negative emphasis bias
Negative information often leaves a stronger impression than positive information. When a negative detail about a candidate informs the rest of an interview and impacts the hiring process, it may be an example of negative emphasis bias.
Interviewers and candidates commonly communicate using nonverbal cues such as body language as well as verbal dialogue. When an interviewer prioritizes nonverbal communication to a degree that overlooks a candidate’s skills and qualifications, it is known as nonverbal bias.
It is often easier to remember details from and evaluate interactions that occurred more recently than others. When more recent interviewees are perceived more positively than earlier ones, it is called recency bias.
Interviewers and candidates may discuss hobbies they share or display similar traits in an interview. Hiring decisions based on these similarities rather than a candidate’s qualifications may be the result of similarity bias.
A stereotype is judgement of an individual based on perceived or imagined group characteristics rather than individual qualities. Stereotyping bias in interviewing occurs when an interviewer’s perception of a candidate is based on stereotypes.
How to remove unconscious bias from the hiring process
To begin creating a more unbiased process, you first need to recognize that it is human to be biased. This is a crucial first step to identify where your preconceived opinions are impacting the process. Because biases are not beliefs that are founded by facts. Instead, most people develop prejudicial and unfair stereotypes for or against an individual or a group. These preconceived biases are usually learned or inherited and are completely unrelated to work performance. So to start the journey, it’s always good to take a good look in the mirror and ask some critical questions like: what does my recruitment consist of today? Where does bias most likely sneak in? What are my own and my organizations most common mistakes?
5 ways to avoid interview bias
1. Consider your hiring goals. Being mindful of interviewing biases is an important part of avoiding them in your own hiring processes. It can help to consider your own hiring goals and specifically identify equitable hiring and interviewing practices you’d like to maintain before entering the interview setting.
2. Recruit broadly. When you know your own goals and objectives in interviewing, you can use an array of strategies to begin meeting them. Recruiting from a variety of locations and backgrounds, for example, can help diversify your candidate pool and avoid interviewing biases.
3. Use multiple interviewers. Next, set up conversations using multiple interviewers with specified questions. This can help alleviate the affects of any one individual’s biases in interviewing.
4. Anonymize when possible. If at all possible, keep parts of the interview process anonymous. If your candidates must complete a test, for example, keep the names and profiles of individuals separate from their test results as long as you are able.
5. Develop structured, open-ended questions. Standardize your questions and questioning processes wherever possible. You might do this by providing every interviewer with an interview guide and a set of questions to use in their discussions. Try providing training for interviewers on avoiding bias, as well.
Tengai is leveling the playing field
Tengai’s sole purpose is to assist recruiters and hiring managers to make objective assessments. And even though Tengai has certain human qualities to be relatable, she lacks the cognitive ability to judge. By eliminating gut-feeling completely, a candidate’s age, sex, appearance, dialect becomes irrelevant. And while the goal in a human meeting is to charm one another. Tengai cannot be charmed since she only is measuring competency.
Recruitment and staffing agency TNG has been working with unbiased recruitment for over 15 years. They have successfully developed an unbiased methodology that is turning the traditional recruitment process on its head. By focusing on data-driven, structured, and competency-based hiring. Especially by using technology as a smart assistant to supercharge their recruiting powers.
Customer success story
– With Tengai we gained a scientific way to compare and select the best candidates, without letting gut-feeling effect the decision. I’m convinced that Tengai will contribute to a more sustainable labor market. Which is completely in line with our vision at TNG.
Åsa Edman Källströmer