7 Ways to Remove Bias from Your Hiring Process

Biases, we’ve all got them. Some are more extreme than others, some people are simply biased about fruit or cereal. While others are biased towards people like Sandra Bullock because she won an Oscar over Meryl Streep in 2009 for essentially wearing a blonde wig, and having a hacksaw accent in an inspirational sports movie, and other people? Well, other people can be flat-out prejudiced, and for far less than an upset at

Well, other people can be flat-out prejudiced, and for far less than an upset at an Oscar’s ceremony. So why is it important to eliminate biases from your hiring process? The answer is simple, sometimes talent is hidden beneath a less than flattering university, hobby, or even a gender. Don’t miss out on talent because of inevitable bias in the interviewing process. We have compiled a list of 7 ways to remove bias from your hiring process below.

1. Recognize Your Biases

Recognizing your biases is a tough pill to swallow, but a necessary one. Once you identify your biases, flip it around, think to yourself, is this really an important/relative opinion? Understanding that your quick-handed judgments aren’t always valid, can be rough, but essential. Don’t shut a potential employee out simply because of your biases.

2. Don’t Use Your Emotions As A Judge

How many times has a decision you’ve made purely on emotion been decidedly correct? Seriously, would that emotional based decision hold up in a court of law, or would you admittedly have to defend your actions with diverted eye contact and a nervous giggle? Your emotions are a fickle, fickle thing, they change with the weather. Before you make any claims to a potential interviewees personality, see if you can back those claims with evidence. If you cannot back your claims with tangible evidence, toss that cookie (biased claim cookie) out the window.

3. Go Against Your Initial Gut Reaction

Switch it up. If the interviewee proposes something you usually detest as a talent, or hobby react with a positive tone.

“Most people seek out positive confirming facts for people they like and negative facts for people they don’t like. You can neutralize your biases by doing the opposite.” — Lou Adler, writer LinkedIn

4. Sleep On It

Well maybe don’t actually sleep on it, you probably have to make a decision regarding new employment relatively soon. Take the time to reflect on the interview, don’t make a snap decision, especially if you feel yourself waining too far to one side. Take a few minutes of contemplative thought.

5. Ask For Others’ Opinions

Get some of your other colleagues opinions in on the matter. Toss around your concerns, bounce your opinions off of people who have a different view from yours. Take notes, now evaluate those notes. Make a reasonable, evidence-based pros and cons list of sincere thought.

6. Test Yourself

Not so sure that you fall under the scary term “biased”? Want some measurable data on your personal level of bias? Take the Implicit Association Test from Harvard.

“Once we are aware of our biases, we can take steps to correct them. If one has been conditioned to be unfairly negatively biased,one can also condition themselves to become more positively biased. It is perfectly possible for organizations to put hiring teams and hiring managers through diversity awareness programs in order to reduce unconscious bias significantly.” — Kazim Ladimeji, writer Recruiter.com

7. Blind Interviewing

Blind interviewing is simply eliminating certain details of a candidate’s resume. Here are a couple of things to consider hiding from a resume, to ensure a relatively high level of unbiased decision making:

  • Hide the candidate’s University. Eliminate the name of the educational institutionyour candidate graduated from. Listing only their major, skills, and minors.
  • Hide the candidate’s name. This prohibits any room for gender bias, race bias, and any bias regarding personal background.

Treat your interviewee with the same respect you wish to see for yourself. Automatic dismissal of a candidate (even if it is only mentally) is not a viable option. Listen with your ears, your eyes, and intuition (to a degree, remember your intuition is also the same thing that told you acid wash jeans were cool.) Don’t let negative ideals of certain personal attributes cloud your judgment of a potentially talented employee. See how effective your diverse hiring practices can really be!

Maren Hogan is a seasoned marketer, writer and business builder in the HR and Recruiting industry. Founder and CEO of Red Branch Media, an agency offering marketing strategy and outsourcing and thought leadership to HR and Recruiting Technology and Services organizations internationally, Hogan is a consistent advocate of next generation marketing techniques. She has built successful online communities, deployed brand strategies and been a thought leader in the global recruitment and talent space. You can read more of her work on Forbes, Business Insider, Entrepreneur, and her blog Marenated.
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