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It's human nature to have biases, but allowing these biases to factor into the interviewing process can hurt your company's chances of attracting and hiring the best candidates. For example, you may not like males who have pierced ears (and of course, depending upon the workplace setting, pierced ears may be inappropriate.) However, if you sit down to interview the perfect candidate, but you reject him because he has pierced ears, you may be doing a disservice to your employer and your employer's customers.
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Taming Your Biases
One of the best ways to tame your biases is to standardize the interview process. This can go a long way in keeping all candidates on a level playing field. Focus on their strengths and weaknesses on a professional level instead of a personal level. For example, all candidates may need to have attained a certain level of education in order to be considered, regardless of what they look like, how they sound, or what they wear. Also, each candidate should be asked the same standardized questions and their responses should be scored along a standardized chart.
What About Cultural Fit?
Now, with the above stated, you will have to pay attention to personal traits to some extent. If a candidate arrives for an interview and has very bad hygiene and is completely oblivious to it, that person, however qualified, will likely not be a good fit. This is because or she will become a distraction to coworkers, and if in a customer-facing position, the candidate could hurt sales and your company's reputation. Likewise, a candidate who asks inappropriate questions, is loud or brash, or who appears to be under the influence of drugs or alcohol during the interview will likely need to be disqualified. So, again, it is okay in some instances to introduce common sense biases.
Check Your Policies
One very important aspect of taming your biases is to review your company's discrimination policies very carefully, even if you were the person who wrote them. These days, civil rights violations can become a very serious issue for your company if it's proven that your biases discriminated against someone based on things such as race or gender. In fact, even an accusation of a civil rights violation during the hiring process can place your company in the middle of a media storm. If this happens, even if you're proven to be innocent of any wrongdoing, the public's perception of your company could turn negative quickly.
You might also consider holding workshops with all human resources employees who interview candidates to discuss bias and discrimination. All employees who conduct or take part in interviews need to know your company's policies and procedures and how to handle personal or professional biases that may come up. Taking care of this concern now can go a long way in reducing bias during the hiring process, ultimately helping your company to hire the right people.
How can employers effectively devise a hiring strategy that is 100% free of bias? Is it possible?