Diversity is the foundation of a successful business. Research such as the McKinsey 2020 report “Diversity Wins: How Inclusion Matters” consistently shows that more diverse companies are more likely to outperform their less diverse competitors in both innovation and sheer profitability.
Recruiters across industries are actively working to incorporate DEI (diversity, equity, and inclusion) in their hiring practices. Many recruiters start with:
- Assessing how they source candidates
- Evaluating accessibility in the application process
- Attempting to mitigate implicit bias in the review process
All three of these steps require detailed attention. However, this post in particular focuses on the interview process. So how can recruiters start to incorporate DEI practices into the interview process? Find out below.
#1 Address Biased Language in Your Job Postings
Let’s start at the candidate’s first point of contact with the hiring process — the job posting. Writing an unbiased job description encourages everyone to apply equally. However, this isn’t always a simple task. The biased language we see in job postings is typically the product of unconscious bias.
Consider the connotations of the language you use.
For example, a job posting looking for someone with strong technical skills may use the phrase “digital native.” Whereas the surface-level meaning of this phrase is intended to target candidates familiar with digital tools, it may exclude those born before the digital revolution of the 90s. Such words and phrases exist for every type of bias, from religious to racial.
#2 Prevent Biased Language in Your Interview Questions
Beyond the job posting, the interview questions also pose a risk of biased language. Start by looking for gendered language. An easy example is asking someone about their balance of family and work. This question is rooted in sexist notions about women and family.
Not sure what questions could be considered biased? See if you can spot the biased interview questions in this quiz.
You can also use this post as a guide to read more examples of biased language to help you develop your ability to spot them .
#3 Review Applicants Without Looking at LinkedIn Profiles/Photos
It’s best to cut the visual aspect of your initial applicant review in order to make a fair and equitable hiring decision — as this is where most types of bias stem from. What’s more, seeking out additional information can invite confirmation bias.
Confirmation bias is when a recruiter has an initial perception of a candidate and tends to favor information that reinforces that perception. From there they seek to confirm that initial perception regardless of the information in front of them. Seeking out a LinkedIn profile or an image of the application can invite such bias.
Unconscious bias is a little different. Humans as a whole, not just recruiters, have a great number of biases as our minds tend to make sweeping generalizations. However, it’s a problem that everyone should address, especially those in recruitment.
#4 Use Asynchronous Interviews
Asynchronous phone interviews have become an excellent way to mitigate bias as a whole. This approach eliminates visuals entirely, and has recruiters focus on only the candidate’s answers rather than irrelevant information.
Asynchronous interviews are one of the most effective hiring tools available to the modern recruiter. In this format, a recruiter records themselves asking the interview questions then that recording is delivered to every candidate. From there, the process is virtual. This gives every candidate the exact same interview (and opportunity) to show why they’re the right person for the role.
Eliminating visuals and standardizing the interview questions minimizes the opportunity for unconscious bias to affect recruiter decisions.