Over the last several years, an increasing number of companies have pledged to hire a more diverse workforce and begun releasing their diversity numbers annually. The results have been a mixed bag at best.
With so many organizations saying that diversity hiring is among their top goals and making good-faith efforts to revamp their recruiting practices accordingly, our team wanted to better understand why the results have fallen short. What we found surprised us: Subconscious bias tends to have the strongest impact on historically underrepresented racial and ethnic groups in the early stages of the interview process.
For example, the data revealed that while white candidates see higher passthrough rates at the very top of the funnel, Black and Hispanic/Latinx talent see higher passthrough rates across the remaining funnel stages: 62% of Black talent and 57% of Hispanic/Latinx talent are extended offers after on-sites, compared to just 54% of white talent.
This suggests that diversity is most often an issue in earlier stages of the interview process, driven at least in part by subconscious bias. Candidates from historically underrepresented racial and ethnic groups have to work harder to prove themselves than their white counterparts, despite seeing higher offer rates at later stages of the interview process.
Whenever you open a new role, start by asking the question: How do we ensure that our selection is based solely on criteria that’s relevant to the role?
To help address this issue, I’m sharing six strategies that recruiting teams can use to reduce bias in the early phases of the recruiting process, when candidates are both entering and progressing through interviews.
Rethink the criteria for your open roles
Research has found that many things people list on their LinkedIn profile or résumé have very little, if any, correlation with their future work performance.
For example, requiring or being predisposed to four-year degrees from certain institutions biases you toward privilege. Screening for leadership experience can also be racially biased, due to lower representation of non-white people at the executive level.
To avoid this, whenever you open a new role, start by asking the question: How do we ensure that our selection is based solely on criteria that’s relevant to the role?
From there, clarify which competencies and qualifications are absolutely necessary to success in the role, and rather than focusing on the candidate’s experience, education, or — if they’re early in their careers — GPAs, ask yourself what about their history suggests problem-solving skills, cognitive ability and a growth mindset.
Limit access to information that could cause bias