Conscious And Unconscious Bias - And How To Avoid It

by Chris Parker on 29 July 2020

hiring discrimination

Unconscious bias is very real – and we all possess this to some extent. The need is to recognise the bias we bring both consciously and unconsciously when we review candidates. Anything we can put in place to mitigate such bias will help. Objective skills assessments in which the presentation, explanation, timing, scoring and interpretation of the results is the same for every candidate makes comparisons made between applicants more impartial.

eSkill is an industry award-winning provider of comprehensive bias and discrimination removal recruitment technology.  

4 Ways to Eliminate Discrimination in Hiring

  1. Name-blind applications Name-blind applications involve removing a candidate’s name from a resume, CV, or any other documents needed for a job application (e.g. letter of intent). This reduces both intentional or unconscious bias and discrimination from the beginning stages of the hiring process. Hiring managers and HR personnel can work to eliminate their own biases, but it may seem impossible to overcome the institutional bias that is built into many industries and individual companies.
  2. Add skills testing to the hiring process While removing names from resumes and applications can significantly reduce the potential for initial discrimination, it can cause the entire process to seem impersonal and make comparing the data difficult, especially when dealing with multiple candidates with equal qualifications. By giving your hiring team a set of objective criteria to make decisions from, you can still maintain your dedication to reducing discrimination. The factors involved in hiring discrimination are complex and varied. Minority and gender bias is often based on the idea that those being discriminated against may not be able to perform at the required level. While, logically, performance is an individual and not a class metric, this idea can be hard for many to set aside. Skills testing can demonstrate that candidates outside of the “normal” talent pool may provide a higher level of performance and competency.
  3. Include objective data in the hiring and evaluation process Biases and emotions are reduced through the use of objective data, without the need for “retraining” or potentially shaming bad actors. Explanations, anecdotal evidence, and statistics can only somewhat correct a deeply held bias. Skills testing sets up an empirical mechanism that allows a direct comparison between candidates that, coupled with name-blind applications, allows hiring managers to make the most objective decisions possible.
  4. Include multiple managers as part of an applicant interview process While interviews will eventually reveal the identity of each candidate, which can allow biases to re-enter the process, collecting skills testing data each candidate’s capability and knowledge base enables interviews to become more objective. As long as humans remain a vital part of the hiring process, discrimination will always be a factor on some level. Include multiple hiring managers in the interview process with job seekers to provide multiple perspectives on each candidate. Facilitating a broader, less-biased approach to hiring lessens the impact of an individual hiring manager’s influence and reduces the risk of conscious and unconscious discrimination.

As HR and recruiting professionals, we have a responsibility to lessen and eliminate as much bias from the hiring process as possible by creating a level field for all candidates. Name-blind applications along with skills testing, objective data, and a standard interview process can promote equal hiring practices.

As eSkill is an industry award-winning provider (see resources) of bias and discrimination removal recruitment technology, if you would like to find out more, you can arrange a quick consultation here.

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