Most business owners, CEOs and HR professionals at top companies and small businesses alike would agree that diversity remains a big problem among their personnel. Most will also say they agree that more diverse workplaces enjoy many benefits — including a greater bottom line. However, even though it’s well-known that increasing diversity in the workforce is a crucial issue, the approach to hiring diverse employees remains flawed for many companies.

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According to a recent hiring trends report from Deloitte, 71% of employees and executives surveyed believe their organizations are doing an “adequate or excellent” job of prioritizing diversity. However, data suggest that companies still have a lot to do to make sure all different types of diversity (racial, cultural, gender, cognitive) are represented throughout the workplace, especially when it comes to the STEM field. The first step to bridging this gap between what companies say and what they do lies in bringing inclusivity to the hiring process — and taking bias out of it.

If current hiring practices aren’t yielding diverse hirees, hiring bias — both conscious and unconscious — may be getting in the way. The biases hiring managers and recruiters bring to the hiring process can infiltrate this process at multiple stages, thwarting efforts to diversify a workplace. Companies need to take a hard look at how their hiring processes are affected by biases, and ultimately work to reduce hiring bias with these top tips from the diverse hiring experts at Brilliant Hire.

1. Practice a workplace culture of diversity awareness, recognition and promotion

Alt Text: A team working together on a project.

To ensure that future employment efforts promote diversity, companies first need to make sure they are building a workplace culture that encourages diversity of gender, race, culture and cognition. It should be a top priority among managers and higher ups that every employee feels valued, accepted and heard in the workplace. Employee differences should be celebrated, not diminished to fit within a so-called company culture, and regular diversity training should be taken advantage of to educate leaders and employees about best practices in fostering a safe, diverse environment free of bias.

In fostering a workplace culture that encourages diversity, companies should also set diversity goals to establish the kind of representation they want to see among employees. Setting measurable objectives and implementing practices to achieve them is a great first step that shows awareness of diversity’s importance and role in the workplace. As goals are set, work to reduce hiring bias by looking closely at why those goals are needed and what’s been holding back diversity in the workplace to this point.

2. Edit job descriptions for inclusivity

Job descriptions can turn potential qualified applicants off to a job simply by the way they are worded. Gendered language, long lists of qualifications and corporate jargon all have the potential to hurt diverse hiring efforts.

To make job descriptions more inclusive, hiring managers and HR professionals need to think about the posting from a candidates’ perspective and be aware of how words and content impact the decision to apply. We recommend trying, at a minimum, to pare down on essential job qualifications versus the nice-to-have’s; remove language that is exclusive of different races, genders and cultures; and get rid of performance-based descriptions. Here are some other great tips for editing job descriptions to attract a more diverse applicant pool.

3. Vary your advertising

Does your company have one or two places they constantly advertise job openings? If LinkedIn or Indeed are the only mediums by which applicants can find out about the job, it’s time to rethink the marketing approach. Hiring bias can come into play when companies regularly look for candidates in the same places over and over again. While large job board postings certainly can attract hundreds of qualified applicants, they shouldn’t be the sum-total of a job’s advertising.

To reduce bias and attract as diverse an applicant pool as possible, recruiters should take advantage of multiple job boards. For example, they might continue to post to the big ones (LinkedIn, Indeed, Glassdoor), but also add postings to university job boards, skills-specific job boards and minority-specific job boards. Here is a great resource for large and skills-specific job boards, and here is a list of diversity-approved job boards.

4. Blind the resume review process

Blind recruitment is when HR professionals remove personally identifiable information from resumes before reviewing them, and there is a lot of evidence to suggest it works. Removing names, ages and genders from resumes before screening them gives each candidate the opportunity to present solely by their previous experience and skillsets — not by where they were born or when. Whether we admit it or not, personal information holds connotations that often lend way to assumptions.

Some recruiters might argue that they can leave bias out of their hiring process without blinding the resume review. However, research shows that unconscious bias, the learned stereotypes that are ingrained and unintentional, affects the way everyone makes decisions. It’s far more prevalent and harmful than conscious bias, and can thwart diversity initiatives at companies. That’s why it’s better to eliminate the opportunity for it with blind recruitment.

Companies sometimes opt to find top talent with AI technologies that predict a candidate’s fit for a position. However, recent research suggests that while those technologies are convenient and expedient, they also are at risk of bringing even more bias to the hiring process. Companies like Brilliant Hire are combatting this issue by offering HR professionals an alternative: Blind application screening powered by a network of professionals to reduce unconscious and conscious hiring bias.

For companies who talk the talk about the importance of a diverse workplace but can’t seem to walk the walk when it comes to ensuring fair representation, hiring bias may be to blame. From reconsidering the way your company’s culture fosters differences, to employing blind recruitment with or without the help of technology, try implementing our tips to eliminate bias in the hiring process. Your bottomline will thank you for it.

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Brilliant Hire by SAP provides companies with an innovative way to build diverse and inclusive teams. It offers an efficient, unbiased applicant screening solution powered by a network of experts. With a mission to remove unconscious bias from the hiring process, Brilliant Hire has been trusted by countless talent acquisition professionals to cut down on screening time while ensuring every applicant has an equal chance of moving forward. Check out our blog for more information, or request a demo here.