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3 Ways To Interrupt Bias In The Recruiting Process.

By Victor T. Madubuko, SPHR, GPHR, SHRM-SCP

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We all like to think that we judge applicants solely on their credentials and achievements, but research shows that every one of us has a lifetime of experience and cultural history that shapes the review process. Indeed, “Even the most well-meaning person unwittingly allows unconscious thoughts and feelings to influence seemingly objective decisions.” -Mahzarin R. Banaji.

The results from controlled research studies demonstrate that people often hold implicit or unconscious assumptions that influence their judgments. Examples range from expectations or assumptions about physical or social characteristics to those associated with certain job descriptions, academic institutions, and fields of study. “When we assume that cultural, racial, ethnic, and gender biases are simply nonexistent [in] screening and evaluation processes, there is grave danger that minority and female candidates will be rejected.”- Caroline S.V. Turner.

Recognizing the biases and other influences not related to the quality of candidates can help reduce their impact on your search and review of candidates.

Become A Change Agent
Learn about and discuss research on biases and assumptions and consciously strive to minimize their influence on your evaluation. Experimental studies show that greater awareness of discrepancies between the ideals of impartiality and actual performance, together with strong internal motivations to respond without prejudice, effectively reduces prejudicial behavior. (Devine et al)

Use An Applicant Appraisal Form
Applicant Appraisal Forms are work sheets  Recruiters or Search Committees use when evaluating application materials and when interviewing candidate for a position. They are tools to facilitate the work of the interviewers to ensure that uniform standards are applied when reviewing application materials and interviewing finalists. They also facilitate discussions when the interviewer assesses applicants and prepares its final evaluation of finalists.

Defend Your Decision
Be able to defend every decision for eliminating or advancing a candidate. Research shows that holding evaluators to high standards of accountability for the fairness of their evaluation reduces the influence of bias and assumptions. (Foschi).

Board of Regents of the University of Wisconsin System
Eve Fine and Jo Handelsman

About The Author:

Victor Madubuko, SPHR, GPHR, SHR-SCP is a certified human resource professional and a diversity and inclusion advisor with 20 years of experience helping clients  to hire, train, and retain amazing employees in order to increase their business performance.