You call it strategy.
We call it bias.
Candidates call it BS.
Whatever it’s called, bias in the hiring process can become a major stumbling block if you allow it to set roots in your marketing recruitment strategy and can very quickly change the perception and reputation of your company within and even outside the job market.
In terms of quick fixes, there are a ton of things you can do to remove the concept of bias from your hiring process, with implementing a full-blown strategy and bringing in an external marketing recruitment agency just two of the easiest steps you can take. But we aren’t about easy steps here – for us, it’s all about getting to the root of the problem and cutting it at the source.
What is bias in the recruiting process and why does it exist?
Often, we see companies being biased with their recruitment, without even knowing it. Hiring from within the company and your existing pool of candidates is bias, whether or not you followed formal procedure and opened the job listing out to the recruiting market. Hiring someone you know from a previous job or even someone you know personally is also regarded as bias – as is heeding the recommendation of someone within the company and hiring based on personal relationships rather than capability.
The thing is bias isn’t just damaging to your reputation as a company. It can also leave you with substandard employees and colleagues who may have won a role through false pretenses, or who may simply have got the job so easily that they don’t really care how good at it they actually are.
What about bias outside of personal relationships? Surely, it’s not possible to be biased about someone you’ve never met, right?
This is where it gets a little more complex but bear with us because this is something you absolutely will want to avoid and cut from your business as quickly as possible.
This is the bias where you judge someone based on what you learn about them through their application or even their interview. It’s a bit like taking the idea of the crucial first impression and then running with it – using that first impression to establish whether or not you want them for the role.
And this is what has to stop if you are to cut out all levels of bias from your recruitment process. It shouldn’t be about who you want for the role, or what kind of person you think fits the bill. Yes, this will come into play later down the line and can often help to choose between two suitable candidates, but before you even get to that stage you first have to create a lineup of candidates who can bring the right skill set to the role. Whether or not they went to the University you like, or have a background you admire, is not important at this stage. What matters is suitability – pure and simple.
Once you get to the next stage of the process and start to get to know candidates in a little more detail, is when it starts to get more challenging in terms of keeping bias away from the process. In order to keep all job applications and candidates on an even playing field, ensure that your job description is really clear and be communicative throughout the application about what you are looking for and what a role will involve.
We also encourage you to take note of any feelings you have during the interview process, so that you can go back and reassess your notes and initial feelings. From there you can ascertain whether something is bias or simply a shrewd observation.
What’s the solution?
As we mentioned towards the start of this article, one of the simplest ways of removing bias from the recruiting process is to draft in the support of a marketing recruitment agency to manage all your hiring on your behalf. What this means is that you immediately cut personal relationships out from the process, and instead give a third party the power to bring in, interview, and pass over the CV of those who are truly well suited to the role and to the job description.
Another simple step you can take is to have at least two, if not more than that, people on the interview panel. Now, this is not meant to unsettle the candidate and should not be posed as a more intense situation. Instead, having more than one interviewer can help to rid individuals of the influence of bias, as you will receive more than one feeling on each candidate. If you both agree, then it’s less likely bias and more likely a case of suitability for the role (or not, as the case may be!)
Finally, acknowledge that bias is a part of life, but that there is a time and a place where it is acceptable – and a plethora of times and places where it is not. The interview room is not one of those appropriate places
If you would like help highlighting any potential bias in your processes, feel free to reach directly to me, John Austin.