Why we need unbiased hiring right now

Last updated:
July 19, 2022
July 21, 2022
7
min read
Mervyn Dinnen
Talent Insights
unbiased hiring
Table of contents

The commercial advantages of having a diverse workforce within organizations have been recognized and documented for some time. 2015 research from McKinsey found that companies with more diverse management teams were also top financial performers, with those in the top quartile for gender diversity being 27% more likely to outperform other organizations on profitability, and those with executive teams in the top quartile for ethnic and cultural diversity were 33% more likely to have industry-leading profitability.

These relationships continue to be strong, suggesting that the inclusion of highly diverse individuals within an organization can significantly contribute to commercial success. However, while understanding these commercial advantages is essential, for many organizations, knowing how to make their attraction and hiring approaches more diverse remains the challenge. 

A diverse hiring strategy provides an opportunity to open up new and valuable talent pools, bringing critical skills and knowledge into an organization from sections of the working population that may otherwise be overlooked. This is particularly relevant in the current talent short market. However, taking advantage of these opportunities to hire a genuinely diverse workforce can only be achieved by eliminating bias from the recruitment and selection process. 

Diverse teams are not the product of quotas and channels but of an open approach that attracts the right person for each role through equal access and opportunity to all job seekers, with selection achieved through fair assessments created to eliminate personal biases and preferences. And we know that this isn’t easy. A study from Yale University found that male and female scientists, all trained to be objective, were more likely to hire men and to consider them more competent than women. They were also prepared to offer them up to $4,000 higher annual salary than women. 

In another Yale study from 2019 that looked at how speech influenced hiring decisions, hiring managers were asked to assess candidates from mixed socio-economic backgrounds based on a brief recorded discussion in which they introduced themselves. Without information about qualifications and experience, candidates from higher social classes were viewed as more likely to be competent and a better fit and would attract a higher salary.

If we are going to reduce bias, we must make evaluations fair, which means eliminating ‘group think’ and making the process more collaborative by including a broader range of input from more people. This is why we decided that you shouldn’t just take our word for it, and we interviewed some of our integration partners for their take on unbiased hiring too!

Unbiased hiring: Our partners’ perspective

First, we spoke to Brian Parsons, Senior Strategic Partner Manager at Checkr, whose platform provides comprehensive background checks to make hiring faster, easier, and lower risk by getting more accurate data on candidates. He sees unbiased hiring as applying an ethical hiring process. 

Checkr’s mission is to build a fairer future, and they see unbiased hiring as an integral part of this. Brian believes employers should be proactive about creating inclusive hiring practices. Their product has fairness built into it to support the reduction of human bias in hiring. They also create opportunities to access a wider pool of talent through offerings such as fairness settings and candidate stories.

Our second interview was with Markellos Diorinos, CEO at Bryq, whose AI-driven Talent Intelligence platform supports better decision-making by helping eliminate bias. They are aware that great talent is often overlooked, and unconscious biases go unnoticed, which can hinder optimal hiring and negatively impact the nurturing of internal talent. For Markellos, unbiased hiring is about assessing candidates for who they are and for their capabilities of doing a given role, not for what they have done in the past. CVs are ignored in favor of blind screening and science-based assessment. 

Bryq’s technology also addresses the root issues of bias within an organization by using blind screening technology and science-based Talent Intelligence, allowing companies to hire based on personality and skill set. This is achieved through an anonymization feature, which denies access to personally identifiable information about candidates, be it their name, gender, age, or level of education. 

Our third interview was with Charlotte Melkert, Co-Founder & CEO at Equalture, who was recently named in Forbes’ 30 under 30 for 2022. Their platform collects crucial insights on the skills and behaviors of your current team and candidates. This helps you to hire the best-fit candidates without bias by using science through game-based assessments to identify the real potential of candidates. 

Charlotte was quite clear that although you can’t prevent being biased, you can avoid acting upon it. Their definition of unbiased hiring is using an impartial process in which every candidate is evaluated based on insights that are predictive of job and company fit (cognitive abilities, behavior, personality) through an objective method, without any interference of biases, subjectivity, or insights that do not predict job and company fit. To achieve this, every candidate completes the same game-based assessments, giving them an equal opportunity to showcase themselves.

Our take on unbiased hiring

For our take on unbiased hiring, we spoke with one of Recruitee’s recruiters, Szonja Zsiros! She believes that hiring teams should be educated on biases. In her eyes, it’s essential to understand how biases impact our decision-making processes. One way to approach this is by establishing a diverse hiring team. Creating a diverse hiring team means involving people from different backgrounds, gender, and different seniority levels, to help objectively assess the candidates’ skills. 

Creating a diverse hiring team can ensure that interviewers will challenge each other on their opinions and perspectives. Crucially, interview questions should be based on the competencies that are required for the role to help negate irrelevant questions that help fuel bias. We believe unbiased hiring is good for business, good for society, and great for developing our current - and future – workforce! 

Explore ways to reduce hiring bias by reading our latest blog: How to reduce bias with Fair evaluations.

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