How to Reduce Bias when Recruiting

Leo Rolf

Posted 30/07/2019
by Leo Rolf

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How to Reduce Bias when Recruiting

How balanced are you when evaluating applicants for new openings in your business? We like to think we are all neutral and able to seek the right people for each role. Yet we are all capable of being biased against individuals, even if we don’t think that’s the case.

Our brains handle far more information than our conscious minds are capable of registering. That’s why we’ve all been guilty of unconscious bias, no matter how hard we try not to be biased against anyone.

Fortunately, there are ways we can reduce these instances at the most important moments of all – especially when recruiting others.

What is unconscious bias?

Unconscious means being unaware. Imagine being knocked unconscious, for example. Even if some part of us is aware of external stimuli (for example, we may respond to the touch of a needle), we as individuals are unaware of this.

Bias can occur in many ways when recruiting new staff. We know it is wrong to be biased against someone for the colour of their skin, for their sexuality, or their religious beliefs.

However, unconscious bias in the workplace may involve other elements we’re not aware of. Perhaps we think someone should always wear a suit, for instance, otherwise they’re not suitable for the role. We’re not conscious of this thought, yet it still influences the way we view certain candidates.

Positive or negative recruitment bias

It may surprise you to learn bias in the workplace doesn’t necessarily need to be negative. Here are some examples of a positive bias that could still cause you to employ the wrong person:

  • A lack of tattoos indicates someone who is far more likely to perform well
  • An education achieved at a famous university automatically means that person is ideal for the role

How to prevent recruitment bias

It seems clear that removing yourself from the process as much as you can reduces the chances of any biased points of view creeping into the recruitment process. Fortunately, modern technology has made this far easier to achieve.

Many businesses and companies are now using recruitment tests to help them find the best people for an assortment of roles. These tests come in many guises:

While the tests are diverse, they share a commonality. All remove the need for you to partake in the process. Applicants can take one or more tests online without ever meeting the recruitment team. Only the best candidates go forward to the next stage – the interview process.

Of course, there is still an opportunity for unconscious bias to creep in during interviews. However, we can prepare for this by being alert to it ahead of time. Making notes during interviews is wise, as it means we can review them with an eye to highlighting potential bias later. Having time to remove such biases ahead of making a recruitment decision is of paramount importance.

How to find the best people to fill your role

Removing the threat of unconscious bias from your recruitment process makes it easier to find the best people for the available roles. Pre-employment tests remove the risk of letting personal beliefs or ideas influence the decision-making process.

Skillsarena can provide you with comprehensive and in-depth tests designed to remove any bias from the selection process.

Call our team today on +44 (0)203 693 2201 to find out how our personality tests, skills tests, and aptitude tests can help steer you towards the right people. Alternatively, email your requirements to receive more information on how we can help.

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