To say unconscious bias does not impact the Information Technology industry would be disingenuous. Everyone understands that a lack of diversity impacts larger social issues, but few people take a step back to understand the underlying cause of these hiring issues. The concept is referred to as unconscious hiring bias and it impacts more personality aspects than just the things we can see, like race and sex. Hiring managers often have their own bias regarding the types of personalities they want to hire, and this not only impacts their hiring process but also the candidates who apply and interview and the employees that work for their company. Candidate quality can be impacted by your unconscious hiring bias as well. So how can you eliminate unconscious hiring bias in your IT department? Let’s take a closer look.
Diversify sourcing channels.
If you keep going back to the same well, you’ll keep drawing the same types of people. By diversifying your recruiting sources, you will also increase the diversity of the people who will apply for your open positions. Do you hire primarily through online job boards? Referrals? Word of mouth? Social media? What can you add to your hiring roster to increase the diversity of candidates?
Have a structured interview process.
The enemy of a diverse hiring program is an unstructured interview. When you go with your gut on who to hire and who to reject, you may be allowing your unconscious bias to take control of the decision-making process. Instead, create a structured interview process so each and every candidate has the same experience. Create a checklist so you can compare apples to apples along the way.
Focus on culture add, not culture fit.
Many hiring managers focus on the candidate’s “fit” with their corporate culture. But what if we looked at the issue from another direction? Rather than ensuring that the individual will fit well with your current team, imagine what they can add to the employment experience at your company. What do they bring to the table that no one else does?
Set diversity goals.
You can also give yourself diversity goals to help increase your chances of hiring more people with a variety of backgrounds. Consider the current state of each department? How can you improve the overall diversity in those areas? What are you missing and what could help expand your office culture?
Review skills tests or samples.
Finally, don’t let the hiring decision be guided entirely by chance and gut feelings. Throughout the process, allow candidates to participate in skills testing or to submit samples of their work. You can judge these blindly to make the best possible choice based on skills and abilities, not allowing any other unconscious bias to get in the way of your choice.
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