Discrimination is a fact, a part of our reality from the highest of echelons to the lowest of society’s stratus. This discrimination or bias based on one or the other traits or features of an individual is also present in employee recruitment. In reality, the unconscious bias experienced while hiring is quite human but problematic too. To pinpoint the most common forms of this bias—
- We tend to gravitate towards people who are similar to us.
- We form stereotypes based on our perceptions and thus avoid being objective.
- We seek to follow those lines of thought that validate our pre-existing beliefs.
In short, we end up hiring people who are like us and in the process we lose on authenticity, diversity, innovative approaches and new ideas. Many studies suggest that diversity in the workforce leads to better hiring pool, better productivity and better connection across communities.
How should you achieve all this bypassing bias? Technology comes to our aid in this endeavour and can help us remove bias in the recruitment process. Here’s how.
Improving communication language
Again, because it is a largely unconscious process certain words and terms used in the written communication related to hiring applications, job descriptions, etc. tend to narrow the intended pool of candidates. For example, words like social media ‘rockstar’ or analytics ‘ninja’ might come off as male-oriented to many female applicants. Also, females applicants tend to look at the ‘required’ criteria list literally and refrain from applying when ‘required’ in most cases means skills which are good to have.
This technique involves the blacking out of demographic-related information about applicants from the recruiters so that bias cannot be exercised. Admittedly this is the 2010s and most people will dismiss any such practices being rampant but then again, our biases are are not overt. Research has shown that when gender and race are strong biases that miraculously disappear while screening blind leading to almost 30% increase in acceptance.
It is critical to have structure in the hiring process so that unconscious biases can be summarily identified and removed. The interview process is a key area where proper training can eliminate such pitfalls. Tech companies such as GapJumpers and interviewing.io help train organizations to focus instead on skills and experience in the recruitment process.
Eliminating bias from the recruitment process should be at the core of every company’s hiring strategy. Fortunately, futuristically-driven companies are developing technology that can help shoulder this responsibility. Of course, technology cannot become the ‘magic pill’ of all diversity related hiring issues but it can definitely be a start.
Technology aided and guided recruitment processes use sophisticated computer algorithms to screen, sort and match candidates. These practices can lead to less biased and more precise identification of talent pools appearing at the prospect of hiring. Recruitment remains a human process and though we might not eradicate bias completely, with technology, we stand a chance to improve it radically.