How to Remove Bias from Your Hiring Process

BY Kathy Crosett
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Are you hoping to hire a more diverse workforce and remove bias as we prepare for 2021? Your organization may be setting conservative hiring numbers for next year because of economic uncertainty. That’s why proceeding carefully with your hiring process is your best bet if you want to demonstrate your commitment to diversity.

Your Positioning

Mikaela Kiner touched on the need to define diversity in your organization before you put out those first recruitment ads. If you’re locked into thinking about gender and race as the definition of diversity, it’s time to broaden your horizons. Age, sexual orientation, religion, gender identity and physical ability also count when measuring diversity.

You can attract a range of diverse candidates and remove bias by including an EEO statement on your website and your hiring materials. These days, if you don’t tout your position, candidates will assume you don’t care. And they’ll move on.

Research shows that organizations will attract the best talent by including the right content on their site. Before any candidate applies for a position with your company, they’ll be doing some research and you should be showing them positive messaging. Text content that shows commitment to diversity and military veterans resonates with candidates. According to the 2020 Recruitment Marketing Benchmarks report produced by Symphony Talent and Smashfly, this type of content is the mark of ‘recruiting pioneers,’ which often end up being the companies where up and coming stars want to work.

Organizations that keep using the same job descriptions will likely attract the candidates they usually see. Kiner points out that incorporating terminology such as “rock star, stud, and ninja” in job descriptions and recruitment ads can seem “exclusive and off-​putting to many candidates.” In the pre-​COVID-​19 economy, competition for the best candidates was tough. You may have used edgy terminology to stand out. Since the economic situation has changed significantly in the past few months, you’ll be able to attract a wider range of potential candidates, especially with the right language and positioning.

Remove Bias

Once you’ve collected resumes for your open position, don’t immediately decide who you’re going to interview. First, consider a candidate’s fit. A sales skills assessment taken by top candidates before an interview will tell you if a person is right for your open position. You’ll also get a sense of whether their behavioral tendencies will make them a good match for the hiring manager. There’s also sales tendencies to consider. If the candidate excels in the Challenger style of sales and your organization uses the same style, you’re one step closer to making a good hire.

If a candidate scores low on an aspect of sales skills that you believe is critical, like closing, don’t immediately write them off. Check out their coachability scores. A B‑level sales candidate with great coachability tendencies may be a better hire for your organization that the A‑level sales candidate who may have some toxic workplace behavior.

The candidates who make it to the interview stage should represent the talent that matches your needs. Don’t rush to that stage and make interview decisions based on solely on resumes. A high percentage of resumes contain inaccurate information. And when you rely recommendations from a friend or staff member, you’re setting yourself up to hire another team member who is much like the employees already on your team.

If you’re committed to diversifying your sales team, write a recruitment ad with inclusive language. Use a sales skills assessment to find the best talent and to remove bias from the process of selecting who to interview. And when it’s time to interview candidates, create a panel of diverse team members. Doing so shows candidates the face and intention of your organization. You’re also telling team members that their input and opinions matter.