How To Minimize Bias In Your Sourcing, Hiring, and Onboarding Processes

Time to Read: 5.1 minutes

Updated: May 12, 2023

Bias in recruitment refers to when a hiring manager favors or disfavors individuals or groups based on personal, societal, or organizational factors rather than purely job-related criteria. Even when recruiters or hiring managers believe they are making objective decisions, unconscious bias can creep in and influence their judgment. Over 85% of hiring managers rely on intuition or a gut feeling when making hiring decisions. Hiring bias can significantly impact the selection of candidates and lead to unfair, discriminatory practices.

Did you know that 80% of workers want to work for a company that prioritizes inclusion? Minimizing bias throughout your sourcing, hiring, and onboarding processes can go a long way to making your organization better at attracting and retaining diverse talent. Having a workforce with a greater diversity of thought and experience can help your business by:

  • Increasing innovation and creativity
  • Broadening your range of perspectives and problem-solving approaches
  • Improving decision-making and problem-solving abilities
  • Improving adaptability to change and new situations
  • Improving employee engagement and retention
  • Increasing your ability to attract top talent from diverse backgrounds
  • Increasing customer satisfaction and loyalty from diverse customer groups
  • Improving organizational reputation and brand image

Let’s examine different processes that can be impacted by bias and how they would benefit from strategies that reduce hiring bias.

1. Sourcing

Sourcing processes are the proactive activities your business makes to attract potential candidates and encourage them to apply for open roles. Sourcing can include everything from your employee referral scheme to your schedule of hiring events, your careers website, and direct messaging. Potential sources of bias in sourcing include a reliance on referrals, which can limit the diversity of candidates; using sourcing channels that do not attract a diverse candidate pool; and a lack of standardization in the sourcing process which can lead to subjective decision-making.

Strategies for reducing bias in sourcing include:

  • Expanding the Pool of Candidates
    Using a variety of sourcing channels, partnering with community organizations, and targeting underrepresented groups can help expand your candidate pool and reach a more diverse set of potential candidates.
  • Using Blind Resume Screening
    Removing identifying information from resumes such as names, addresses, and educational institutions can minimize unconscious bias in resume screening.
  • Standardizing the Sourcing Process
    By providing standardized criteria for evaluating candidates and ensuring that all recruiters or hiring managers follow the same process minimizes subjective decision-making.
  • Training Recruiters and Hiring Managers
    Providing diversity and inclusion training to recruiters and hiring managers helps them recognize unconscious biases in the sourcing process.

2. Hiring

The hiring process begins after the sourcing process has found potential candidates for a job opening. It involves a series of steps that aim to evaluate candidates’ qualifications and fit for the role, select the most qualified candidate from the pool and make a hiring decision. Potential sources of hiring bias include the use of subjective evaluation criteria, reliance on gut feelings, and unconscious biases based on factors such as age, gender, race, or ethnicity. Other sources of bias may include a lack of diversity in the interview panel or not considering candidates from non-traditional backgrounds.

Strategies for reducing hiring bias include:

  • Structured Interviews
    A standardized set of questions and evaluation criteria for all candidates helps to ensure that the interview process is fair and consistent.
  • Avoiding Irrelevant Criteria
    Criteria for roles should focus on skills, experience, and qualifications, rather than irrelevant factors such as age, gender, or race.
  • Diverse Interview Panels
    Creating interview panels with a diverse group of interviewers from different backgrounds and perspectives can reduce the effects of unconscious biases and offer a more objective evaluation of candidates’ qualifications and potential fit for the role.
  • Blind Assessment
    Similar to blind resume screening, blind assessment methods, such as skills tests or job simulations, can be used to evaluate candidates without knowing their identity or demographic background.
  • Using Technology to Minimize Bias
    Tools such as artificial intelligence (AI) or machine learning algorithms can reduce bias in hiring decisions. For example, AI can help to remove identifying information from resumes, analyze candidate responses in structured interviews, and flag potential biases in job descriptions. However, it is important to note that these technologies must be carefully designed and tested to ensure that they do not bring in new biases or make existing ones worse.

3. Onboarding

Onboarding is the process of embedding new hires into the organization and setting them up for success in their new role. It includes activities such as orientation, training, and providing the resources they need to become productive and engaged in their work as quickly as possible. Potential sources of bias in onboarding include assumptions about employees’ knowledge and experience, lack of inclusion in the onboarding process, and unequal access to resources and support. Other sources of bias may include a lack of diversity in the onboarding program or a failure to address the unique needs and challenges of underrepresented employees.

Strategies to reduce bias in onboarding processes include:

  • Offering Diversity and Inclusion Training
    Providing training to all employees on unconscious bias, cultural competence, and inclusive communication.
  • Providing Equal Opportunities for Growth and Development
    Doing so can ensure that all employees, regardless of their background or identity, have equal access to growth opportunities, such as training programs, mentorship, and promotions.
  • Incorporating Diverse Perspectives and Voice
    Actively seeking out and including diverse perspectives and voices in the onboarding process, through employee resource groups or diversity committees ensures that the program is inclusive and relevant for all employees.
  • Conducting Regular Evaluations
    Regularly evaluating the effectiveness of any onboarding procedures and gathering feedback from employees identifies areas for improvement and ensures that the program is meeting the needs of all employees, including those from underrepresented backgrounds.

If you are looking to reduce hiring bias and build inclusivity into your hiring and onboarding processes, Pierpoint can help. As a minority-owned certified business, we have unique insight into what it takes for organizations to achieve unbiased talent representation and to recruit underrepresented talent. Access powerful technologies and dedicated diversity recruiters to boost both your internal and external diversity, equality, and inclusion efforts quickly, easily, and efficiently. Talk to an expert today.

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Jen Mulholland

Jen is a successful recruitment and marketing professional. Driven by a genuine passion for writing, she provides insightful, accurate and engaging content for the Human Resources community across a wide range of topics and industries.

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