How to Overcome Unconscious Bias in Your Recruitment Process

How to overcome unconscious bias in your recruitment process

We all have unconscious biases. And it affects every aspect of the workplace -- from your employee satisfaction to your brand perception.

The estimated cost of unconscious workplace bias is projected at $64B annually. 

That’s the cost of losing and replacing workers due to unfairness and discrimination. And this amount doesn’t include legal costs when companies have to defend themselves from disgruntled former employees.

Creating a diverse and inclusive work environment relies on reducing unconscious biases from your recruitment process. 

At Mogul, we work with the Fortune 1000 and the fastest-growing organizations to help hire diverse talent. We provide our executive search partners with exclusive unconscious bias training to best prepare candidates for diverse leadership. 

Here are our top 5 ways to overcome unconscious bias in your recruitment process.

Openly acknowledge bias

Biases exist. We all have them. Most of the time, we don’t notice them (hence the “unconscious” part). 

Understanding the nature of unconscious bias is essential. Our brains are built to categorize information in service of saving energy. This categorization is what gives rise to unconscious bias - our brains put people into buckets without us realizing it.

Understanding this important concept can help individuals approach their own biases in a more informed and open way. Talking about our biases allows us to challenge and change them.

This also allows company leaders to promote respectful dialogue, invite transparent conversations, and create an environment conducive to learning.

Especially for your hiring managers, consider facilitating discussions and training sessions that encourage bias literacy. It teaches us the types of unconscious bias that are the most common, so we know what to look for. Evidence suggests that providing unconscious bias training for team members can reduce the impact of unconscious bias in the workplace.

Write inclusive job descriptions

Unconscious biases in your job descriptions can be a major turnoff for diverse talent. There are a few common issues we see:

  1. The first is in job titles. For example, using “salesman” instead of “salesperson.”
  2. Next, we see job descriptions that are overly casual and use words like “guys.” Most people use the phrase “guys” in everyday conversation. But this can be a big turnoff.
    Instead, elect to use gender-neutral words like “people” or “team.” 
  3. Finally, we still see pronoun bias all the time. Using “his/her” or “he/she” type language is an honest mistake. But pronoun bias excludes any candidates from the LGBTQ community who don’t identify with male/female.
    Luckily, this is an easy fix. “Their” language is the more inclusive choice.

Need a deep dive on writing better job descriptions? We shared our top five ways to write inclusive job descriptions. 

Develop a diverse interview panel

Diverse interview panels are one of the best ways to overcome unconscious bias in the workplace. 

These panels are made up of individuals of varying orientations, representation groups, and opinions. And when paired with a structured interview process (more on structured interviews below), you create a robust interviewing process that greatly reduces bias.

Another significant benefit is that it provides your candidates with a better interview experience, which will bolster your employee brand. 

Why? Put yourself in your candidate’s shoes. Being interviewed by people with different backgrounds, experiences, and worldviews send a message to your candidates that diversity, inclusion, and equal opportunity are important to your company.

It also does your candidates a service by giving them a well-rounded perspective before deciding if the opportunity is right for them.

Conduct structured interviews

A diverse interview panel pairs well with a standardized interview process.

Unstructured interviews might be more conversational and qualitative, but they lack reliability, consistency, and fairness. 

If you want to be the one who wins the best talent, you need to have well-structured interviews.

In a structured interview, your interview team creates a list of questions that focus on the candidate’s past experience, strengths and weaknesses, job requirements, and abilities and assesses the person from there.

There are a few best practices we suggest for creating a better interview structure:

  • Utilize blind resume reviews with your interview panel.
  • Give assessment tests for candidates in the later stages of the interview process.

Leverage Technology to Diversify Candidate Pools

Technology allows you to source and screen candidates faster by using large amounts of candidate data. 

Recruiting technology can process massive amounts of information rapidly, and drastically helps cut down on the entire hiring process. 

Given that speed is crucial for hiring top talent, we feel leveraging technology in the recruitment process has become an essential part of business. That's why we created the Mogul Recruiter Tool.

Our innovative technology will provide you with exclusive access to 430MM candidate profiles. We leverage our technology to deliver fully diversified searches that accelerate the average placement time by nearly 70%. 

Our Recruiter Tool allows recruiters to filter by diversity status (gender, ethnicity, veteran, student, LGBTQIA+) to diversify their talent pipelines.

With Mogul, recruiters have uncapped access to talent; all search results are displayed, and we provide our users’ email and Mogul profiles for a higher response rate. See our Recruiter Tool in action.