Hiring bias continues to affect employees as well as their customers and the business itself.
Tremendous work has gone into tackling hiring bias, but truth to be told, there are still great challenges to overcome.
HR Magazine recently reflected on the contemporary state of evidence surrounding hiring bias in the UK.
It states that statistics still show how prevalent bias still is across many sectors and industries.
The most affected groups include women and BAME groups who still suffer chronically from a deficiency in equal pay and opportunities, particularly in the tech and financial industries.
Two Types of Bias
There’s widely considered to be two main types of bias that businesses and organisations need to crack down on; conscious and unconscious bias.
Conscious bias refers to the targeted, deliberate and specific prejudice of individuals based on their individual or collective characteristics.
Unconscious bias refers to more intangible forms of unconscious bias that manifest without deliberate intention. Unconscious bias is often based on stereotypes.
The Law and Hiring Bias
Hiring bias is illegal in the UK and many other countries worldwide.
In the UK, legal provisions are made for both conscious and unconscious bias under the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in the US and the Equality Act 2010.
Programmes and strategies are in place to encourage businesses to hire a diverse selection of individuals that is representative of society-at-large, but ultimately, this is not an option, but a legal obligation.
Each and every business or organisation should audit their hiring process for bias.
Successful Businesses Tackle Hiring Bias
Tackling bias is not only essential for tackling an issue that places emotional wellbeing at its heart, but it’s also the hallmark of a successful business.
Recent studies overviewed in Forbes found that businesses with internal hiring biases face ongoing problems with employee commitment and focus.
When they experience bias, employees become disengaged and isolated from their role and their position within the company.
By disenfranchising employees via bias and mistreatment, you can all but permanently lose their dedication.
Evidence shows that businesses with diverse, fairly distributed and widely representative workforces are more likely to be productive and efficient.
Cooperation and teamwork are enhanced in diverse teams and general workplace wellbeing and morale is also higher in businesses that tackle hiring bias, according to Forbes.
Tackling Hiring Bias in the Hiring Process
To help tackle hiring bias, businesses are looking introspectively at their own hiring processes, which is where hiring bias primarily manifests.
Hiring processes that involve manual screening and self-reporting are most at-risk of bias.
Soft skills, in particular, are notoriously hard to screen for using classic interview techniques.
Many traditional interview methodologies are archaic by modern standards.
They only persist because they’re the norm - the status quo - rather than by their own merit.
Group interviews were found to cause tension and stress that persists in the workplace (Bendick and Nunes, 2012).
The pseudo-competitive environment of a group interview may distort expectations of what a job entails - namely cooperation and teamwork.
Trialling individuals in an environment where they’re expected to ‘beat’ each other before pitching them into a job that revolves around sound teamwork is clearly non-sensical.
Moreover, in classic group interviews, candidates are often given roles according to their stereotypes, rather than their actual skillsets.
Psychometric Tests to Beat Hiring Bias
Psychometric tests are a modern hiring methodology that foregoes the traditional interview for a behavioural test that cuts through prejudices and stereotypes.
These sorts of tests pose scenarios rather than asking questions directly and thus measure how candidates engage with different ideas and concepts.
There are no ‘rights or wrongs’, each task is designed to be approached naturally and without preconceptions.
This makes the entire process more transparent and incredibly hard to fake.
The results are insightful for both the candidate and the employer, and it wouldn’t be surprising to uncover strengths about candidates that they themselves did not realise.
Psychometric tests are already used by some 80% of the Fortune 500 businesses today and have become increasingly accessible for businesses and organisations of all shapes and sizes.
By foregoing traditional screening processes and group interviews, psychometric tests evaluate both hard and soft skills in a calm, relaxed and intuitive environment.
Psychometric tests often go hand-in-hand with some form of interview, but the key advantage is that they illuminate and discover the skills of candidates in an environment that is free from stereotyping, stigma, stress or competitive anxiety.
This benefits both parties; HR and the candidate.
Psychometric tests find better candidates, reduce hiring costs and provide a better candidate experience so candidates are more likely to choose you if they have multiple offers on the table.
Thanks for the information Meghan!!
Sadly, hiring bias is something that is still happening daily.
Whether it be conscious or unconscious, it is something that you're business needs to be aware of, and eradicate.
It's time for a fairer and more equal world.
Do your part and tackle hiring bias within your hiring process!