Hiring discrimination is more common than you think, but you can leap to new bias-free heights with a few small steps.
According to at least one study, diversity makes a company more innovative. However, even with the best of intentions, bias can sneak into the hiring process; and this can negatively impact diversity. While it may not be possible to completely eliminate bias, there are several steps you can take to minimize hiring discrimination and maximize diversity and inclusivity.
- Start with your job descriptions. Take the time and effort to create job descriptions that will be inviting to candidates from all backgrounds. Part of this is as simple as avoiding gender-specific language; but go deeper and stay away from aggressive language or descriptors that tend to favor men (e.g., “rock star,” “quarterback,” or “champion”). If you’re uncertain about what language is acceptable, there are tools such as Textio or Gender Decoder that can help.
- Don’t discard nontraditional resumes. If you only consider standard resumes, you could be missing out on good candidates. Make sure your recruiters and other leaders know how to look beyond language and formatting to skill sets, talents, and values that will make someone a valuable addition to your workforce. One step that can help is removing the person’s name, graduation date, and other personal information before passing the resume along to managers or other decision-makers.
- Avoid assumptions. Don’t make assumptions about people because of their age, gender, or other characteristics. For instance, don’t assume that older, more experienced workers will expect or demand a higher salary or not be as tech-savvy. If someone has the right skills and experience, don’t dismiss that candidate because of your assumptions.
- Diversify your interviews. Consider having a diverse group of people involved in the interviewing process, and employ a multistep process with different people to gain multiple insights. At the same time, review your interview questions for possible bias. For instance, make sure you’re not asking women questions you wouldn’t ask a man.
- Train, train, and train some more. Make sure everyone involved in hiring gets training on how to focus on qualifications and not personal qualities. Consider conducting some test interviews where you can identify bias issues that need to be addressed.