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Mayes Wilson & Associates

Creating a more inclusive and equitable hiring process (Part Three)

Sara Wilson, CPCC, ACC | 

For this third and final installment in my blog series on creating a more inclusive and equitable hiring process, I want to explore unconscious bias.

In part 1 of this series, I discussed designing an inclusive and equitable hiring process, including who to involve, questions to ask about your organization’s commitment to DEI, transparency, and suggestions related to using a search firm.

Part 2 of this series examined the recruiting phase and gave suggestions for creating a job posting that reflects a commitment to DEI.

Today’s post explores “unconscious bias”. Simply defined, this is a preference you have of which you are not aware. We all have them. Attending a keynote or listening to a TED Talk will increase your awareness but research shows it is unlikely that it will change your biases. Changing our biases takes awareness and active work.

Unconscious biases can easily be imbedded in our hiring process and we don’t even know it. Below are some ideas for addressing biases in the interview process.

Hiring practices that help counter unconscious biases

  1. Remove names, gender identifiers, and addresses from each resume.
  2. Remove degree years, and the names of degree-granting institutions. If you see a certain school name does that create a bias for or against a candidate?
  3. Have an odd-numbered, multi-person interview panel of people with diverse backgrounds, experience and identities as recommended by Pamela Fuller (speaker and author of the Leaders Guide to Unconscious Bias: How to Reframe Bias, Cultivate Connection and Create High-Performing Teams). Also, make sure the panelists have had diversity training. Pamela also recommends hierarchy diversity in the panel. For example, don’t just have all managers since front line team members will have a different perspective.
  4. Standardize the interview process. Ensure a consistent interview experience for each candidate by asking all candidates the same interview questions.
  5. Provide a standard background for Zoom interviews or suggest all candidates blur their backgrounds. Candidates’ experience with Zoom (or other platforms) may be mixed. Not everyone has access to the most current technology or space for a quiet interview.

Above all, focus on becoming aware of how all these issues can impact your perspective of a candidate.

How are you providing an unbiased hiring process? Share your tips. Let’s continue the work of learning and changing so our nonprofits can attract the best candidates.

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