“Who wants to feel they have been given a job due to their gender or ethnicity?”
I’ve never been a fan of diversity quotas in hiring. Who wants to feel they have been given a job due to their gender, ethnicity, or any other factor other than talent and merit? Certainly not me. However, the issue of bias still remains.
Hiring managers suffer from affinity bias – the tendency to hire people with a similar culture, background or personality to them. Another bias is what Daniel Kahneman calls the ‘halo effect’ – where we find one attribute really attractive in a job candidate, colouring our view of the candidate’s total skills and competencies.
Many organisations are banning all-male or all-white shortlists. The question remains, though – how do we address the social and structural biases within hiring? Drawing on behavioural science principles, here are three things organisations can do:
Job design: Use tools such as Textio to naturalise biased language within job descriptions and person specifications
Candidate attraction: Set clear expectations and use a ‘comply or explain’ model when engaging recruitment agencies
Interviewing: Use a scoring system and aggregating scores before debriefing. This helps to mitigate biases by focusing on evidenced-based information.