This is a picture of our son, Rafael.
This was taken on our recent family holiday. His bib is a hand me down from his big sister Amelie. In fact, he has two of them!
We do not care that his bib is pink, it’s just a colour.
The bib works, he loves it. Especially as it has one of those little troughs at the bottom to catch his food, so he can feed again and again.
Whilst away, I lost count on the amount of times people approached us and said” What a lovely girl” or “Is it a boy or a girl”. We even had someone say to him “Hello Princess!”.
When we explained that he is a boy, certain people were surprised, because pink is a girls colour right?
This leads me to what we call unconscious bias in recruitment.
This bias is when an individual or organisation hires someone and has an unconscious bias towards gender, race, the academic institution you attended, or your affinity to someone because they are like you or someone you know.
Let’s take an example of the academic institution.
When I first came to Melbourne, 8 years ago, I was advised that I needed to get into the “old boys” network. Apparently, people are sometimes favoured based on what school you went to. I am not going to get into the pros and cons of this as it is not the aim of this blog.
However, it is a good example of bias albeit that it could well be more conscious than unconscious.
I think that all individuals and organisations have degrees of unconscious bias embedded within their hiring and performance management processes. It is absolutely key to manage this.
At Momentum Search and Selection, we have an equal opportunities policy which we adhere to for both internal hires and the candidates which we place with our client base. It is important for me as the leader of the business to ensure that we are treating everyone equally.
Here are some tips on how you can improve your recruitment process and limit unconscious bias.
- Ensure that all staff are trained with regards to unconscious bias and put measures in place to limit this.
- You can re-write job descriptions. Using a tool such as Textio can make a big impact on this if you have the budget to do so.
- Certain companies ensure that blind CV’s are used as part of the screening process for vacancies. The hiring managers do not know the gender, age or race of a candidate before they make an interview request. Therefore, they can judge the CV on merit without any bias.
- I recommend that companies have standardised interview processes for roles which are grouped in domains such as Digital, Technology, Project Management, Change Management, etc. If the interviews are standardised and each hiring manager follows an agreed approach, unconscious bias can be reduced and hiring decisions are less about gut feel.
- You can set up whiteboarding sessions, sample work tests, etc in order to get a much more granular feel for what the candidate will bring to your company.
- Video interviewing is very helpful. We have embraced this as part of our internal recruitment process and it also forms part of our service offering, Smart Source.
- Set diversity goals, be brave. Stick to them, do not compromise.
Please feel free to comment on this blog, I would love to here your views. Remember not to judge a bib by its colour!
Stay tuned for our next blog or video.
Momentum Search and Selection is a recruitment partner that provides executive talent solutions to local and international organisations. We provide practitioners who excel at Digital, Technology and Business Transformation.