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  • Celeste Shoot

Bias-Free Diversity Hiring: Are you lowering the bar or lowering the bias?

The technology landscape is growing and becoming more complex, with the demand for talent seemingly falling behind. But is this the case for your hiring needs? Or are your hiring practices preventing you from unlocking a wide pool of diverse talent that may be overlooked?

Companies worldwide are continuing to recognize the importance of building diverse teams, not only for ethical reasons, but the proven benefits it brings to innovation, creativity, and a business’ overall success.

While every business would like to believe that they do not have bias when it comes to hiring, the reality is that biases still persist in the recruitment process.

48% of HR managers admit bias affects their candidate choice.

42% of talent acquisition professionals say hiring bias is the main reason interviews fail.

51.6% of hiring managers support the idea of blind hiring.

“How do we unlock this potential?"

While the intention might be to embrace diversity and increase representation, lowering hiring standards in the name of diversity can negatively impact the long-term success and growth of a company. Instead of thinking of lowering the bar, focus on lowering bias that may unintentionally hinder the hiring of qualified individuals from diverse backgrounds.

Groupthink decision making

This psychological phenomenon is not a new concept, but can very much be an unconscious bias in hiring practices because as humans, we desire harmony or conformity when in a group. Unfortunately, this results in sometimes irrational decision-making outcomes. When hiring managers and interviewers allow the opinions of others to impact their decision-making, this often leads to a decision being made due to groupthink. It may require one or two more Slacks or one or two more meetings, but try to avoid group settings and asking on the spot, “What did you think?”. This creates an environment that may leave individuals who feel opposite of their peers going along with the majority vs. sticking with their own opinion and decision. (I know I’ve been in this situation! And I look back and hate that I was part of this groupthink!)

Focus on culture add, not culture fit

84% of recruiters look for this in their selection process. (SHRM, March 2022)

At the end of the day, most of us spend more than 40 hours a week with our coworkers. The importance of having a culture that we feel comfortable in and inclusive in is crucial for a business’ success and a healthy, thriving work environment.

When asking candidates about culture, it’s important to ask questions around this topic from the angle of how they would be a great addition to the culture, not asking questions to see if they would fit in the culture. When talking about "culture fit", this can sometimes elude to the perception that either a company's culture is perfect and only accepts those that are similar or if someone doesn't fit in, they might not be considered. Striking a balance between these two approaches, allows businesses to maintain a cohesive culture while also embracing the benefits that diverse experiences and viewpoints bring to the table.

“Wow, they worked at [insert name-brand company], they are the best candidate for the role!”

For businesses who are starting to scale or need to scale quickly, Halo Effect is a common unintentional bias that business’ hiring practices commonly fall into.

While it’s not always the case, employees at large, name-brand companies often have very specific job functions. In hiring, some tend to default seeing these names on resumes as immediate successful hires. While we never want to discount the success of landing a role at one of these companies, these individuals wear a single hat and might not be the best fit for a role that requires the need to wear many hats. (Monster, Career Advice)

As tempting as it is to default and focus on candidates that have a brand name on their resume, not only do you automatically close off opportunities for other candidates, but judgements and evaluations are then inevitably based on these single characteristics. Being able to take on many responsibilities and pivot in the tech industry is crucial to success in a fast-paced and ever-changing environment. This not only benefits individuals by enhancing skills and candidate prospects (because we always want candidates to thrive!) but also adds value to the teams and organizations they are a part of.

Striking a balance between increasing representation and maintaining high hiring standards can be challenging, but doesn’t have to be overwhelming. Businesses in the pursuit to embrace bias-free diversity hiring and promoting inclusivity should not look at lowering the bar, but consider ways to help eliminate unconscious bias. Staffing agencies, like Nimble Technology Partners, can help play a crucial role in promoting blind hiring and help lower the bias in the recruitment process.

Let us help you create an environment where everyone has an equal opportunity to succeed. Ready to take that first step? Contact our team today!

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