Recruitment bias has been a significant concern in the Talent Acquisition function lately. Conscious and unconscious bias have a problematic effect on the overall productivity of the business. According to some researches, unconscious bias, sexism, and ageism play a significant role when it comes to hiring a candidate for a job.
Recruitment processes are commonly plagued by biases like Halo Effect, a cognitive bias in which a recruiter’s overall impression of a person is influenced by how he/she feel and think about the candidate’s character. Confirmation bias (the tendency to search for, interpret, favor, and recall information in a way that confirms one's preexisting beliefs or hypotheses), Intuition, etc. These hiring preferences cause us to interpret information in a way that creates our subjective reality and lead us to inaccurate judgments.
So how do you ensure you avoid biases to creep into your recruitment process hire the best? How can you recognize and reduce these biases? And most importantly, where do you start from?
Shivanker Singh, Senior Consultant at Aon Hewitt shares ways you can you be more objective in your hiring process and select the best candidate.
Q: What has been the top shift in the hiring process in the last two-three years?
A: Providing an engaging candidateexperience has become one of the key drivers in the design of hiring processes in organizations. This has translated into organizations tweaking the way they manage talent acquisition to ensure they are providing an optimal experience to candidates across all their interactions with them.
Organizations are now engaging more actively with passive candidates through social media, there are technology enabled solutions like chatbots which are being used for candidate screening and query resolution. Organizations are moving away from traditional assessment techniques to gamified, simulated and video based assessments. There is also an enhanced focus on providing the most efficient interviewing experience to candidates.
Fundamentally organizations are attempting to build their employer brand by focusing on better candidate experience at every stage of the hiring process.
Q: What has been the role of technology in this shift?
A: The accelerating pace of technology offers an array of new solutions that has prompted a shift across all talent management functions. Technology has helped integrate different parts of the recruitment process and make the overall experience seamless for the candidate. Assessments, gamification, employee referral tools, video based assessments, smart applicant tracking systems not only provide an engaging experience for candidates but also reduces bias and other risks prevalent in the recruitment process.
Q: In your conversations with leaders across organizations, what is that one common challenge that you have seen emerging?
A: Attracting quality talent is one common challenge we often hear from HR leaders. There isn’t a dearth of some applications in India, but TA heads are continually trying to identify means to attract higher quality talent, and then determine effective mechanisms to evaluate this talent scientifically. One size fits all style of assessments is also no longer effective – the trend is to move towards highly modular role specific assessments.
Q: Where does the merit of building more and more objectivity in the hiring process like?
A: There are inherent biases in a traditional hiring process which stop organizations from finding the ‘right’ talent. Resumes are also not the best representations of the ability and role fitment of candidates – this is especially true when organizations start hiring from non-traditional channels.
So it becomes critical to have objective mechanisms to evaluate the fitment of the candidate – this would include scientifically assessing them on their knowledge, skills, abilities, behaviors, and personality – to ensure a holistic view of the candidate.
It is easy for recruiters to select a candidate based on application shortlisting and interviews. However, these methods don't guarantee you a right fit for the job. Talent Acquisition professionals need to be objective when hiring new employees to ensure they provide equal opportunities for every job seeker who applies.