White men make up around 85% of U.S. board members and execs. Despite the rise in diversity and inclusion efforts, bias still creeps into the hiring process. If you need to know how to remove implicit bias from your interviews, I found 7 ways.
First, let’s define implicit bias (with some texture and examples).
What is implicit bias?
Implicit bias is when a person prefers (or has an aversion to) a group of people without even knowing it. Before you start interviewing for your next role, keep watch for these implicit bias roadblocks:
- Affinity Bias – Giving favor to candidates with a similar background to the interviewer. (e.g., common interests, college, religion, or social groups like sororities/fraternities).
- Name Bias – Stereotyping candidate names and making judgments about their competency or qualifications. An NPR study revealed that people with Asian last names are 28% less likely to get an interview than applicants with “Anglo” last names.
- Confirmation Bias – Making conclusions without evidence and then filtering any evidence through that assumption. (e.g., making an assumption about a candidate based on the school they went to and then asking targeted questions that confirm the bias, whether positive or negative.)
- Conformity Bias – Accepting others’ views and hiding your own thoughts during interviews causing you to miss out on top prospects.
- Gender Bias – Women are 30% less likely to get an interview call than men. Implicit gender bias in hiring is always likely to favor men, despite the gender identity of an interviewer.
Now on to some ways to remove implicit bias:
How to remove implicit bias in interviews
Here are 7 tips to remove implicit bias during the interview process:
1. Avoid Gender Biased Job Ads
Choose your words wisely when writing job descriptions. Fewer women tend to apply to jobs that have too many masculine-coded words. Terms like ‘competitive,’ ‘strong,’ ‘decisive,’ ‘aggressive,’ ‘courageous,’ ‘expert,’ and many others are considered masculine.
With software, you can quickly review your job ads for gender bias and swap masculine words with gender-neutral alternatives. Terms like ‘fair,’ ‘steady,’ ‘action-oriented,’ ‘steer,’ or ‘skilled,’ are more gender-neutral.
2. Use a Blind Resume Tool
Blind resume review tools can combat confirmation bias. These tools help hiring managers focus on candidates’ skills, experience, and achievements instead of their gender, age, ethnicity, education, or name. Here are 2 examples (with pricing):
- Blendoor — companies pay $400 per job listing on the app.
- Toggl Hire — Free plan with 1 skills test and 5 candidates per account. Packages with higher limits start from $17/month.
3. Create Skills-Based “Tests”
Instead of using standard interview questions, try using tools with skills-based assessments instead. This eliminates the possibility of an unequal interview process where certain candidates are asked different questions based on implicit biases held by the interviewer.
Tools like GapJumpers help you create skills-based tests for all types of roles (from an accountant to a digital marketer). GapJumpers’ annual subscription fee ranges from $5,000-$40,000 to use the platform and for access to their candidate network.
4. Build a Diverse Interview Panel
There’s a lower chance of affinity bias when you have a diverse panel. Interviews are often influenced by the gender, ethnicity, age, skills, or other life experiences of candidates (or the interview panel). Implicit bias from the interviewer’s side can negatively affect the outcome for a candidate.
With a diverse interview panel, you get more viewpoints, skill sets, and ideas that can help give candidates from diverse backgrounds a better chance at moving forward in the hiring process. And…seeing diversity on the panel encourages candidates.
Karenga Ross, Director of Business Operations at Intel, who met with a diverse interview panel that included 2 African-American women said:
“It’s nice to be able to look across that table and see someone whom I can aspire to be. I can see someone who looks like me.”(source: Mya)
5. Use Structured Interviews
Using a structured interview where all candidates are asked the same questions (or given the same assessments) helps with removing implicit bias. Instead of asking questions as they come to mind, standardize the process for each candidate.
This can be done by creating a script for the interview panel to follow (and creating assessments ahead of time), to minimize gender bias, affinity bias, and support age diversity.
Once a final scorecard is in front of the panel, it’s easier to compare candidates on the same level. This way, each candidate is reviewed on the same qualities, instead of comparing one candidate’s leadership skills to another’s work style…because you don’t have the same information for both.
6. Use Confidential Candidate Reviews
To avoid conformity bias, have interviewers submit their written candidate feedback separately (e.g., in an online form) before discussing it as a group. After that, the team can discuss impartial views. This allows panel members to discuss their findings on each candidate.
7. Keep Track of Hiring Patterns
You can combat conformity bias by holding interviewers accountable for their choices during the interview process.
Keep track of the types of candidates they hire. If a hiring manager constantly gives lesser “stars” to women or employs people from one race over another, you’ll need to address the issue. They might be doing it unintentionally, so having a record can help you create a case for internal DEI training needs.
Why I Wrote This?
Implicit bias in the interview process can keep your co. from finding ideal candidates without you even realizing it. The tips and tools above can help you remove implicit biases from the hiring process, so you can create a diverse and productive team. If you want to remove bias in your job descriptions consider Ongig’s Text Analyzer.
- If There’s Only One Woman in Your Candidate Pool, There’s Statistically No Chance She’ll Be Hired (by Stefanie K. Johnson, David R. Hekman, and Elsa T. Chan)
- Asian names still carry a stigma, especially in the workplace (by Allen Pham)
- Women are 30 percent less likely to be considered for a hiring process than men (by Universitat Pompeu Fabra – Barcelona)
- Top 6 Blind Recruitment Tools for 2022 (by Marit Martin)
- Bias In Job Descriptions: Your First Step to Creating a More Diverse Workforce (by Ameya Deshmukh)
This is a Guest Post from Bree Ogaldez
Bree Ogaldez is the Content & SEO Writer for SEM Nexus. She provides digital marketing content and writing copy for paid and organic ads and frequent dabblings in email marketing. Her content and social media background allow her to expertly incorporate SEO into valuable content for companies.