As a recruiter or hiring manager, you’ve made it your mission to hire the best talent. But are you really hiring the best people for the job, or is hiring bias standing in your way?

Everyone has their own unconscious biases, it’s part of being human. The problem is that bias can negatively affect your recruitment and hiring. Bias makes it more difficult for candidates from underrepresented groups to get hired. You might be surprised to discover that your application and selection process unintentionally puts qualified women, immigrants, disabled people, LGBTQ2S people, and people from minority races at a disadvantage.

Remember, this isn’t completely on you – it’s your hiring process and you can fix it. The good news is there are many tools that can help you to remove bias from your recruitment process.

If you haven’t examined your hiring processes in a while, now is the perfect time to get started. Check out the following tips for reducing bias in your hiring practice.

1. Learn about and become aware of unconscious biases

First off, it’s important to acknowledge bias exists, you can’t move forward without addressing the problem. Educating hiring leaders and collaborators about unconscious biases will not only help you check yourself and each other, but also build understanding about how and why programs are built. Engage leaders and employees to complete the free Harvard Implicit Association Tests online to discover their unique unconscious biases.

2. Build a case for DEI in your organization. Start with leadership buy-in.

DEI (Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion) initiatives need to come from the top. Leadership buy-in means you need to build a compelling case for why DEI is important for your business. What do you stand to gain, what do you stand to lose by not improving your processes? Research has shown a diverse and inclusive workplace delivers on higher revenue growth, increased innovation, and improved employee retention, so it’s kind of a no-brainer for leadership.

3. Set values and live by them

As an employer, it’s on you to provide a workplace culture that demonstrates you value diversity, equity, and inclusion. That means creating core values at the top and incorporating them into the fabric of your business. Diversity and inclusion should be reflected in your company brand, brand assets (website, social media), and all your recruiting materials. Remember, this is the face of your business, and what happens in recruiting should be a direct reflection of your workplace.

4. Use gender-neutral language in job postings & content

Words are powerful and that’s why using gender-neutral titles in job descriptions and avoiding words like “rockstar,” “superhero,” “guru,” and “ninja” is important. These masculine-coded terms can inadvertently prevent women from reviewing or applying for the job.

Similarly, check your pronouns. When describing the tasks of the ideal candidate, avoid “she/he” and use “you." Example: “As a Product Manager, you’ll be responsible for the product strategy.”

5. Be transparent about salary ranges in postings & interviews

We could write an entire post on this topic alone. Beyond being one of the first things candidates look for, disclosing a salary range can help to ensure every employee is being paid fairly – it shows that your company is committed to transparency and fairness. Asking about a person’s salary history can perpetuate inequality – by being upfront about a range you can build trust into the interview process, minimize negotiation talks and focus on a candidate’s experience, skills, and potential.

Plus, it saves everybody a lot of time. Candidates aren’t looking to leave their job to be paid less or at the same level. Employers who post salary ranges stand out and are considered to be more forward-thinking.

6. Remove hiring leaders from offer negotiations

When women negotiate their salary they face negative long-term impacts that follow their career. Managers are less likely to engage with them, leading to missed opportunities, promotions, and lower compensation. All because negotiations go against a stereotypical perception of likeability. To combat this, it’s best to determine salary ranges for job postings with hiring leaders before postings go live. The hiring manager never knows what happened with negotiations (if negotiations happen at all), and there’s no unconscious bias that can form towards the new hire.

7. Speak with current employees about their hiring experience

Talk to your current employees and current or recent past candidates about their candidate experience. How did they feel from the lens of DEI and reducing bias? What were the biggest challenges in their searches? Once you identify areas that have built-in biases, you can resolve them.

8. Monitor organizational data for trends & areas for improvement

Reducing bias means continuously monitoring organizational diversity data, collecting feedback from candidates, and identifying trends and clear areas for improvement. One of the metrics Avanti measures is negotiations. Who negotiates, what is their gender, and what’s the outcome? Another metric to closely follow is turnover that happens within six months of a new hire.

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