There is a point where you have to meet or talk to the candidate in person. Read about how you can overcome unconscious bias in your interview process.

As outlined in our discussion of unconscious bias in the workplace, it is natural for people to have bias opinions of people based on societal prejudices that the interviewer may not be aware of. We have outlined a number of ways you can try to root out these biases from influencing the final decision.  

Make it blind

There are a number of steps to go through before having to come into contact with information that might trigger prejudices. This includes seeing their name, location or appearance. For as long as possible, it is important to try and have those in decision making roles as blind as possible to this information. 

Once you feel like you have a handful of applicants who are on a similar standing you can reintroduce these bits of information or direct contact. If at this point the candidates are still not diverse, you should consider how you might be putting off diverse candidates in the advertisement stage of the process.  

For more information, read our guides on attracting diverse candidates and writing inclusive job adverts. 

Train to remove unconscious bias

First and foremost, tackling discrimination in the workplace has to come through open discussion. Through these, you can explain how it is normal to have unconscious biases and that the more significant thing is to acknowledge them rather than sweep them under the carpet.  

Many employers are now demanding all of their employees in senior roles, especially those that can hire, promote or fire another person, go through implicit-association tests. These tests highlight the person’s unconscious biases and allow them to understand that some assumptions may be the result of that bias or even go to training to diminish that bias.  

Increase objectivity

During an interview, it is common for the interviewer to consider getting along with someone as evidence for fitting into the company culture. However, the psychology behind this is that they recognise traits in themselves in the candidate.  

If you truly want a diverse workforce, you need ways to retract this subjectivity. One method is to introduce set questions for the candidate that are agreed upon by multiple employees. Through this the interviewer cannot ask questions that are in any way more or less harsh depending on their rapport with the candidate.  

Another method is to introduce skills challenges in which the candidate is assessed on an objective result. This way, you can see that they have the aptitude for the role without having to consider personal beliefs.  

Introduce diverse recruiters 

Given the vast number of complications resulting from unconscious biases or the lack of inclusive language, its best to try have a diverse set of recruiters in your company. By using the insight of people from diverse backgrounds your company will not only appear inclusive to those who apply but reduce the chance of hiring more candidates who aren’t from a protected characteristic. 

However, it is also intimidating to have more interviewers than interviewees. As such, it is best practice to try and develop a review process that includes a diverse set of decision-makers.