Strategies for Preventing Bias in the Hiring Process

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By EmployDiversity

Racism, ageism, and sexism can play a big role in candidate selection. These are all examples of unconscious biases that make the hiring process unfair. When hiring decisions are made in favour of certain people or groups, it can negatively impact a company’s diversity, culture, and retention. With these strategies you can reduce unconscious biases and level the playing field for all job applicants:



It’s important for hiring managers to understand what unconscious biases are and how they impact decision making. Providing managers with education and training is the first step to helping them understand their own unconscious biases, how they can overcome them, and what unconscious biases others may hold. Awareness can also encourage open conversations about unconscious biases throughout the hiring process.


Job Descriptions

Your ability to recruit talent relies on your job descriptions. They are an advertisement for your organization and should be designed to sell candidates on the job and your culture. The words and phrases you choose to include in your job descriptions can influence your application pool. Masculine language like “competitive”, “powerful”, and “fearless” will deter women from applying. Whereas words like “collaborative” and “transparent” are likely to attract more women candidates. The easiest way to eliminate gender bias from your job descriptions is to use neutral language.


Resume Screening

Keep your candidate search focused on skills and experience through a blind resume review, instead of using demographic attributes. This will remove the potential for any unconscious biases based on gender or race. A candidate named “Emily” may elicit different biases than a candidate named “DeShawn”. Removing the names of candidates from the resumes before they go in front of the hiring manager or panel gives candidates a better chance of being evaluated fairly.


Work Samples & Assessments

Work samples are a great indicator of a what a candidate will produce on the job. Having candidates complete an assessment that mimics their future job tasks can also be a great predictor of performance. Comparing candidates’ performance on the same assessment can help hiring managers focus on work quality and reduce biases based on personal characteristics.


Interview Process

Standard interviews that follow a defined process and use consistent questions are key. Unstructured interviews that don’t allow for a consistent comparison of candidates are unreliable for predicting job success.  An interview process that uses scripted questions and a metrics-based evaluation scorecard is an essential part of removing unconscious bias from the selection process.


Diversity Goals

Every company should have diversity goals. It is the right decision ethically and also positively influences the company’s bottom line. Every time a new person is hired, the interview process should be reviewed, and the company should assess whether it has moved them closer to or further away from their diversity goals.  This keeps hiring managers accountable for supporting hiring practices that promote diversity.

Unconscious biases can make your hiring process unfair and rob your organization of diversity. Being aware of biases and taking steps to eliminate them from the recruitment workflow can make your hiring process fairer and more equitable for all candidates.