Conducting Unbiased Interviews: Best Practices for Hiring Managers

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    Unconscious bias is part of human nature and cannot be eradicated overnight. Despite explicitly outlining the necessary steps to improve the hiring process, recruiters may still display implicit bias which may lead to unfair hiring practices. This can be a hindrance for the recruitment of a diverse workforce, and therefore it is necessary to tackle unconscious bias in hiring practices.

    To avoid the problem of unfair hiring practices, companies around the world are boosting the diversity of their workforce by using technology, training managers about interview bias, recruitment bias and AI recruitement bias (Read more about Is AI Biased?). Unconscious racism, ageism, sexism plays a massive role in the candidates that get hired. However, there are certain steps that one can take to recognize and reduce these biases. So, where do we begin?

    Read also: Importance of Diversity and Inclusion in the Interview Process

    Ways of Overcoming Bias in the Interview Process

    If you are readin this, you have already taken the first step which is admitting that there is bias in your process. Beyond this, you should also learn about different kind of biases and eliminate them. Learn how BarRaiser mitigates bias in your interview process. 

    First, Standardise the Interview Process

    According to research, unstructured interviews that lack properly defined questions are often unreliable for job success and inclusivity. When the questions are structured, unconscious biases during hiring practice is much less as all the candidates have the same set of defined questions and it allows the employers to focus on the factors that have a direct impact on performance. Moreover, using an interview scorecard is also beneficial as it grades the candidates responses to each question on a predetermined scale. This helps in the interview becoming a third independent point for sourcing data, thereby reducing bias in the hiring practices.

    Research has found out that structured interviews help in reducing unconscious bias. If you are using semistructured or unstructured interviews, it’s worth exploring the merits of using structured interviews

    If you are unsure what’s being used in your organization, you can contact BarRaiser for a free assessment of your current interview process or check out our free interview planning tool!

    Read also: How to Conduct Structured Interviews for Consistent and Fair Hiring Decisions

    Second, Have a Diverse Interview Team

    Having a cross-functional, diverse interview team is necessary for reducing bias in the hiring process. Hire more diverse managers wherein you focus on creating an environment wherein true diversity at all levels is acknowledged and appreciated. Make sure to have sessions with the interview team to watch out for potential interview biases, common mistakes etc. Formulate a plan and debrief meeting so that if biases surface, they can be subsequently vetted by the other interviewers. 

    Creating a diverse interviewer panel is not easy. More often than not, you will see very high demographic similarities in the companies claiming to be flagbearers of diversity.

    You can, however, train your interviewers to hire more diverse teams. As most biases are unconscious an occasional classroom training will not help (not too mention, it will cost a bomb!). To attack this systemically, use technology like BarRaiser Interview Intelligence.

    Read more: How to train interviewers on Unconscious Bias and promote Diversity & Inclusion

    Third, Analyse Each Step of the Hiring Process

    Make sure to analyse every step of the hiring process, as it is a common misconception that unconscious biases seep in only in the interview stage. Hiring is a process, a series of steps, not just a singular act. Analyse every step, gather data and information. You can quantify and measure your diversity score of your hiring process. This analysis will help you ascertain where the problem mainly lies, whether it is in the job descriptions, the advertising for candidates, the application process, interviewing structure etc. Once the steps that have inherent biases are identified, they can be resolved quicker thereby reducing unconscious biases that lead to unfair hiring practices.

    It’s important to track the efficiency of your interviews in enabling diversity. Read more about how interview analytics improve your hiring process.

    Additional Points To Remember:

    • Remove words closely associated with any particular gender from job descriptions
    • Make the candidates take a work sample test- this will help in comparison of candidates and determine future job performance in an effective manner.
    • Use data and numbers more. Keep personal likability aside by crediting them with numerical scores.
    • Use a software program that ensures a level playing field for the judgement of the candidates. Do not allow surface demographic information or characteristics to seep into your mind during the interview.
    • Do not neglect the diversity goals that your organisation has set. Make sure to track them at every stage to see how well they are being accomplished.

    Read also: How to conduct an unbiased interview?

    Curbing unconscious bias, especially in the interview process is a difficult task. However, with the right tools and equipping your business with the apt processes, it can significantly reduce the impact of unfair hiring practices in your recruitment process. BarRaiser is committed to ensure rich insights to help make data-driven decisions with an emphasis on regular diversity training for the hiring managers in order for them to recognise and reduce their unconscious biases and blind spots.


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