A vast body of research shows that the selection is where biases are most likely to impact on hiring decisions. 

There are steps businesses can take to recognise and reduce these biases.

Accept that you have bias

While we like to think that we are open-minded and objective, this is not always the case.

We judge and assess others automatically and often subconsciously. Our thinking is heavily influenced by our background and personal experience.

When we accept that our decision making is impacted by subconscious mental shortcuts, we are better able to assess if unconscious bias is impacting our hiring processes.

  • Tip: Research affinity bias, confirmation bias, contrasting, halo and homes effect, and stereotyping. Consider whether these are present in your processes.

Experiment with your advertising

If you have been using the same avenues with little success, experiment with some new ones.

  • Tip: Consider your local Facebook jobs board as a potential source of talent.
  • Change the search parameters on LinkedIn and Seek to include candidates who may possess strong, transferable skills.
  • Ensure that employees on parental, long term or sick leave are informed of opportunities.
  • Ask recruiters to actively seek diverse candidates or partner directly with diversity recruiters such as Work180.
  • Introduce a supported returner program to help skilled women return to work after an extended period of leave, while also giving you access to untapped sources of talent.

Use alternative application methods

CVs and written job applications make the gender, background and education of the candidate a focal point, and may influence assessment as a result.

  • Tip: Try structured application forms, which tap into the specific skills of candidates. Gamification or simulation-based assessment can provide practical and hands on approaches that look at skills and competencies required in a role.

Develop application guides

It can be difficult for some job seekers to sell their skills and potential effectively. Provide applicants with examples of response formats and tips to help them to improve their submissions.

Blind recruitment

Avoid unconscious bias by removing identifying personal information such as gender, background and education from candidate CVs.

  • Tip: Investigate software programs that can blind the process for you.

Structured interviews

Interviews that rely on the candidate experience to unfold organically through conversation alone can be unreliable predictors of job success.

Bias towards ‘natural chemistry’ or ‘common interest’ can also hurt candidates.

To minimise bias, candidates should be asked the same set of defined questions, with responses to each question graded on a pre-determined scale.

  • Tip: For structured interviews, use our behavioural guide.

Review your processes

Monitor whether your practices are resulting in good hires. Knowing what channels produce the best candidates at the lowest cost can help improve outcomes.

  • Tip: Reach out to managers and supervisors and ask them a simple question: Do you regret hiring this individual? Would you hire them again?
  • Analysing employee data can also provide useful clues. Do a lot of employees leave around the six-month mark? Find out why.