The Essential List of Human Resource Definitions You Need to Know

Diversity Hiring

What is diversity hiring?

Diversity hiring refers to recruiting practices designed to increase the level of diversity in an organization. Workplace diversity refers to a staff demographic makeup that includes members of underrepresented groups similar in proportion to the society at large. For example, if the general population is 20% black, 52% female, 15% Latino, an organization’s labor force would have a similar demographic makeup.

Hiring bias limits efforts to increase workforce diversity. Companies that do more than pay lip service to diversity identify the types of bias in their process and work to eliminate them.

6 Types of Hiring Bias to Root Out

These are categorized as cognitive biases. A cognitive bias is a flaw in judgment. Think about a coin toss that comes up heads ten times in a row. While there’s always a 50% chance that the next flip will be tails–it seems unlikely.

1. The Halo Effect

We all know that first impressions matter. This is related to the halo effect. Once we have a favorable opinion of someone, it takes a lot to change our mind. Another element of the halo effect is the idea that because a person excels in one area, he or she will also excel in others.

2. Expectation Bias

This is related to the Halo Effect discussed previously. A recruiter might read through dozens of resumes. One candidate looks particularly good ‘on paper.’ When that person comes in for an interview, the recruiter may be more likely to overlook obvious flaws.

3. Confirmation Bias

Confirmation bias is the tendency to seek out information that validates your current opinion. As a hiring bias, it’s the tendency to focus only on the aspects of a person that coincide with the recruiter’s pre-established opinion.

4. Anchoring Bias

Anchoring is a hiring bias in which the hiring manager fixates on one piece of information. As a result, they give it more weight than it deserves.

5. Social Comparison Bias

Managers hiring for their team are especially vulnerable to this one. The social comparison bias is the tendency to dislike or feel competitive with others who may have similar skills.

6. Ingroup Bias

Ingroup bias is the tendency to favor people who are similar to oneself. Those who are part of the same ‘group.’ Like sexism or racism–it’s blatantly unfair. But there are less obvious examples of ingroup bias. Some hiring managers, for example, might look more favorably on fellow alumni.

Now that we have discussed types of unconscious bias, hopefully you will consciously avoid them. An applicant tracking system (ATS) can be used in many ways to reduce bias. For example, an ATS can hide aspects of a candidate’s profile that you don’t want to consider. Also, you can use an ATS to manage gender- and ethnically-neutral job descriptions. Plus, you can decrease the shared information bias when everyone keeps notes in a central location. Lastly, tracking all candidates and hires in a centralized location makes it easier to track diversity metrics.

An 8-Step Roadmap for Increasing Diversity Through Recruitment

Once you’ve identified the types of hiring bias going on, it’s time to make a plan to reduce and, hopefully, eliminate them.

1. Set Measurable Goals

Measure your current demographic makeup and set short- and long-term goals to achieve parity.

2. Incorporate Employee Resource Groups

Make diverse candidates feel more comfortable by using employee resource groups (ERGs) during interviews. (Hopefully, you have ERGs. If not, encourage your staff to create them and support them in the effort.)

3. Review Resumes Blind

Studies show that resumes with white-sounding names receive more callbacks or interviews than those that seem non-white. Consequently, many candidates ‘whiten’ their names and backgrounds. You can use an ATS to remove names and hide demographic information.

4. Diversify Your Hiring Team

Is your hiring team diverse? If minority candidates have several job openings to choose from, the makeup of the interview team could be a factor in their decision.

5. Train Employees on Hiring Bias

You can’t increase workforce diversity if your employees don’t understand unconscious bias. You can create your own internal training program, hire a consultant, or use online resources like Google’s unconscious bias training.

6. Retool Your Job Descriptions and Job Requirements

Do you use gender-neutral terminology? Scrutinize your job descriptions and take out any gender-specific language. You can always use the job title in place of any pronoun.

Just as important as giving your job descriptions a makeover, consider your job requirements. If ‘corporate culture match’ is a hiring criterion, remove it. This is an easy place for unconscious bias to creep in. It will hinder your efforts to increase workforce diversity. Furthermore, if have a homogenous workforce, you don’t want to use it as a measuring stick anyway.

7. Use Structured Interviewing

Rewrite interview scripts to avoid bias. Train your interviewers to use them correctly along with EEOC guidelines. Manage your structured interviewing scripts in your ATS.

8. Seek Diverse Referrals

In addition to revamping recruitment communications, use your employee referral program. Encourage employees to refer applicants from underrepresented groups.


See also

Additional resources

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