Every company wants to have a diverse workspace and hire people solely based on their ability to perform tasks and execute projects well. The ideal is to make hiring decisions 100% objectively and logically, without any emotional and subjective factors.
But what happens when the ones making those hiring decisions are people. People who are themselves prone to unconscious biases and who, without even realizing, make biased hiring decisions.
Is there a way to avoid hiring bias and be more objective and pragmatic?
For that reason, we will go over some of the most common hiring biases and how to overcome them. Here is what we will cover in this article:
- Implicit Bias in Hiring
- Racial Bias
- Gender Bias
- Religious Bias
- STEM Bias
- AI Hiring Bias
- Age Bias
- Beauty Hiring Bias
- How to Make Ethical Unbiased Hiring Decisions
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Implicit bias is actually stereotyping. It is a manifestation of an unconscious belief, associations, and attitude towards a certain group of people. As a result of implicit bias, recruiters can attribute certain characteristics and qualities to all group members.
This can go as far as expressing an attitude or disapproval of a person entirely subconsciously. Most recruiters don’t realistically support those beliefs, but the bias can kick in.
There is a whole group of biases that derive from this:
- Racial bias
- Religious bias
- Age bias
- Gender bias, etc.
We will discuss each of those biases more in-depth now separately.
Before going any further, it is essential to note that implicit bias is not the same as discrimination of any kind, including racism, even though they are often related.
Regardless, this has been an issue within hiring sectors for ages now, and there are numerous studies that show so.
One study found that when black and white candidates sent similar resumes, white candidates were 50% more likely to get called for the interview, even though their qualifications were equal.
Another study found that candidates with white-sounding names are 75% more likely to get a job interview than Asian-sounding names. The same study found that white candidates were 25% more likely to be called to an interview than Latino candidates.
Even though religion is not something candidates put in their resumes, studies have found that some recruiters may make assumptions on the religious background based on the candidate’s name.
This bias affects Arabs and Muslims the most since they were far less likely to get invited to an interview than candidates from different religions, a study in 2018 reported.
The federal law (Title VII of the Civil Rights Act) prohibits recruiters from engaging in religious discrimination.
However, most of the recruiters aren’t even aware that their decision-making is biased.
To overcome this problem, there are many blind hiring software that recruiters can use to make a decision without seeing candidates face and name. Try blind hiring with Recruiteze.
While the racial bias and religious bias heavily rely on the idea that people from certain ethnicities can have communication and cultural problems, age bias has the assumption that older people may have difficulties adjusting to the workspace, especially if it is a tech job.
The idea is that they can’t easily use computers and modern technology; thus, they won’t be as effective and bring value to the company.
This is covered by a study that says that more than half of baby boomers felt discouraged to apply for jobs in the tech industry for this reason.
To avoid this bias, consider hiding anything on the resume that may indicate the candidate’s age.
A good blind resume software will hide a candidate’s photo, date of birth, and finishing the collage in order to prevent you from being influenced by their age. If you want to start deploying blind hiring in your recruiting strategy, make sure to check Recruiteze!
Resumes with male names are 40% more likely to get an interview than similar resumes with female names.
There are certain fields that are stereotypically more for men and some that are more for females. Recruiters in the engineering industry might have an unconscious bias towards female candidates. While the recruiters in nursing may be more inclined to employ female candidates than males with similar resumes.
Even though females are generally more inclined to specific industries and males to other industries, being influenced by gender bias can be detrimental since it can make you overlook extremely talented candidates just because of their gender identity.
Hiding names and photos from resumes can help getting rid of this bias.
Diversity has always been a problem in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). Even though the number of females in STEM has risen in the past decade, there has been no significant sire of racial and ethnic minorities.
Research shows that racial and sexual minorities even feel unwelcome in STEM and leave these fields at higher rates than others. Further research shows that LGBTQ+ scientists leave STEM fields at higher rates than heterosexual people.
Gender inequality is among the highest in geoscience fields, and females get far fewer publications than males.
Studies show that numerous reasons make it hard for females to stay and excel at STEM fields:
- Women have stated that they have to prove themselves repeatedly and that there is an assumption that they just aren’t cut out for it.
- Women feel like they need to be more masculine to be seen as competent, but yet they need to be feminine to be likable.
- After having a first child, most women leave STEM.
- Females who have gone through discrimination at the beginning of their careers showed discriminational behavior towards their younger female colleagues.
- Some women, especially women of color, have felt that they had to keep the distance from their colleagues to maintain authority.
Recruiters often make biased decisions when it comes to hiring females in STEM fields for these reasons.
To make unbiased decisions and create equal and diverse workspaces in the STEM industry, recruiters must make unbiased decisions. Testing the actual skills of candidates or employing blind hiring techniques will significantly help. At the end of the text, we will go over how to make unbiased hiring decisions.
This bias doesn’t show only in hiring. Studies have confirmed that beautiful people get better treatment overall, whether it is getting a job, special discounts, or better services.
Now we will focus on how attractiveness is perceived in hiring. Our bias that more beautiful people are seen as more successful, happy, and outgoing than others holds true in hiring as well. Prettier candidates are seen as more competent and have higher chances of getting a job.
However, this is the opposite in male-dominant industries. In those fields, prettier women are seen as less competent.
Beauty bias goes hand in hand with age bias, meaning older women don’t have equal chances as younger women.
Unlike race, gender and religion, attractiveness doesn’t have legal protection, so it is often left out of the conversation when hiring bias is discussed. Still, all candidates must be judged equally on their ability to perform work-related tasks and execute projects.
Hiding the image from resumes and conducting blind interviews can always help. Recruiteze helps recruiters to make unbiased decisions by filtering out any data that might influence the hiring decisions. Test it out for free.
Using a simple blind resume software to hide certain data from the resumes is one thing, but using AI-powered tools to test out candidates, filter out incompetent ones, conduct interviews, and make hiring decisions instead of people is another thing.
The trend of having machines handle recruiting has been on the rise, and big international companies like IKEA, Amazon, and Pepsi have already used them.
However, critics and AI experts have raised concerns saying that machines can also be biased, just like people who are training them. This software is trained by people in real-world, by using examples from real behavior to learn what is right and what is wrong.
Based on this, experts have been concerned that AI can be biased towards certain groups of people, especially in STEM industries where there has been no diversity for the last couple of decades.
Researches have explained how this might lead to unintentional problems and biased hiring decisions in the long run. The researcher has said that by feeding the machine with existing data on the workforce, which is not diverse, or by the traits and not job competency and skills, those tools can make biased decisions.
Still, researchers are pointing out that AI is far less biased than humans, and they are certain that it will be the future of hiring.
Until those tools are perfected, it is better to stick with simpler blind hiring software and judge candidates based on their ability to perform tasks rather than rely on machines to the whole work for you.
Now that we have gone over the most dominant implicit hiring biases, let’s discuss how you can make ethical, unbiased hiring decisions.
Blind hiring has become very popular recently as the companies strive to make a diverse and encouraging workforce. Here are a couple of ways in which you can make unbiased hiring decisions:
- Eliminating Information – Don’t ask candidates to give information like name, photos, date of birth, or anything that can trigger a biased response. You can also use candidate management systems that will remove this information for you.
- Opt-out of social media recruiting – Social media is full of images that can reveal the lifestyle, cultural, sexual, and personal preferences of candidates and other information that can influence your hiring decision.
- Conduct online text interviews – Phone or video interviews can reveal too much about the candidate. With text interviews, you will only see words typed.
- Use skill-based tests – Give candidates work-related problems to solve in order to make a rightful candidate classification. This approach will save you time, as candidates who can’t solve problems will fall out of the game, and you won’t have to spend time interviewing them.
- Use a trial period – Give candidates actual work tasks that they would have to perform on the job they are applying for. You just need to give them a single task from the actual company’s workload to see how they fare. This can be either writing a blog post, piece of code, or solving some technical problem.
Which one of these blind hiring strategies you will use depends on your business. There is no one-fits-all. If you are curious about finding out more about blind hiring strategies, make sure to read our post on Blind Hiring.