ESkill How To Avoid Unconscious Bias In Hiring

The goal of recruiting is to attract the best talent and hire the best candidates. So, in theory, the hiring process is designed to eliminate unqualified candidates and identify applicants with the skills and aptitude to excel in a position. However, unconscious bias can throw a wrench into even the best hiring process.

Implicit biases, or tiny snap judgments we make about people, can lead to irrational and unfair hiring decisions. In fact, studies from the National Bureau of Economic Research have found that job applicants with distinctly White names needed to send about ten resumes to get one callback compared to candidates with distinctly Black names who needed to send about 15.

Biased hiring not only contributes to systemic discrimination but also lowers employee morale and productivity. A recent Deloitte study showed that 68% of U.S. employees surveyed felt bias in the workplace hurt their productivity, and 84% reported that bias within their organization negatively affected their mental health.

Given the negative impact of bias in the workplace, talent professionals must proactively and intentionally work to mitigate it. Fortunately, it is possible to create a hiring process that reduces the harmful impact of unconscious bias. When organizations use job-relevant skills tests and structured interviews to evaluate candidates, the likelihood of bias influencing hiring decisions is nearly eliminated.

Identify Critical Job Requirements

Loosely defined job requirements lead to biased hiring practices. If the hiring team is not clear about what skills and competencies a candidate needs to succeed in a role, it is impossible to consistently and objectively evaluate applicants. And without well-documented criteria for employment decisions, employers open themselves up to discrimination lawsuits. With employment criteria established, employers can develop objective and unbiased candidate evaluations.

The first step to reducing hiring bias and developing a legally defensible hiring process is conducting a thorough job analysis. A job analysis is the process of defining and breaking down the work or activities performed by an individual to complete a job’s required tasks. The hiring team or a talent acquisition professional can then identify the critical skills and aptitude needed to perform the necessary work or activities, which becomes the criteria for employee selection.

Leverage Job-Based Skills Tests

Professionally-developed job-based skills tests provide organizations with an unbiased approach to measuring candidates’ job-relevant skills and aptitudes. eSkill has the most extensive Test Library in the assessment industry, including hundreds of job-based skills tests and over a thousand subjects. On eSkill’s user-friendly platform, hiring teams can select or modify an existing job-based skills test or select questions from a variety of subject and topic areas to create a custom employment skills test. eSkill’s dedicated U.S.-based Assessment Experts can assist hiring teams in building skills tests that directly align with the results of job analyses for optimal results.

Update Antiquated Interview Protocols

A traditional interview is generally a little more than a social call with some predictable choreography. It is a brief meet and greet with some small talk and standard questions: What are your greatest strengths and weaknesses? Where do you see yourself in five years? This interviewing style is one of many stereotypical hiring practices and is extremely subjective, which can allow unconscious bias to influence hiring decisions. 

In contrast, when carefully designed, structured interviews with standard and regularly calibrated scoring practices are used, there is considerably less room for unconscious bias. Implementing an objective interviewing process is simple because of the innovative features on eSkill’s on-demand video interviewing platform, including:

  • Pre-recorded interviews: eSkill’s video interviewing software greatly reduces the risk of unconscious bias because it enables hiring teams to configure structured interviews. A structured interview requires that all applicants answer the same questions in the same order. Candidates record their responses and do not receive unintentional cues from members of the hiring team, and do not engage in small talk.
  • Scoring options: Hiring teams create scoring criteria for each question which standardizes the evaluation process and reduces bias. The video interview portal also has a team scoring feature that enables employers to further standardize scoring. The hiring team designates an “administrator” to oversee the interview evaluations. S/he then assigns specific hiring team members to score interviews, views and approves the reviewers’ scores, and averages the team’s scores for a final total. This ensures consistent and fair scoring practices and prevents the dilution of objectivity.

With eSkill’s innovative employment testing solutions, organizations can leave outdated and stereotypical hiring practices behind and implement hiring processes that reduce the adverse impact of unconscious bias.

Interested in Reducing Unconscious Bias in Your Hiring Processes?

Learn more about the benefits of using eSkill’s job-based skills tests and on-demand video interviews to eliminate stereotypical hiring practices in your recruiting process.

Request a demo today.

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