Steps to Finding Diverse Candidates and Reducing Bias

April 5, 2022
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Diversity increases the quality of available candidates in applicant pools. Successfully finding and hiring diverse talent creates a richer workgroup culture within companies. Here are a few best practices for finding diverse candidates and reducing bias in your hiring process. 

Finding Diverse Candidates

Recruitment diversity opens more possibilities for companies. Ultimately, a commitment to diversity helps a brand connect to a global audience, whether it is consumer-facing or serves a business clientele. Putting these best practices in action can help you attract diverse talent to join your team.

#1 Make It Skill-Oriented

Job descriptions often spotlight negotiable factors (age or education) instead of non-negotiables (i.e., job-related skills). It is best to emphasize desired skills in a job post instead of creating an ideal for a person's image. For example, a skill-oriented job description for a front end developer might look like this:

  • Proven experience with HTML5 and JavaScript required
  • Knowledge of application frameworks a must (Django preferred, Angular and Ruby on Rails a plus)

A non-skill oriented job post, on the other hand, looks something like this:

  • Master degree in computer science required
  • Minimum of 10 years experience in CSS3
  • Must be located in New York 
  • 25-35 years old

#2 Limit Applicant Deterrents

Some things deter qualified candidates from applying to a position they like. These include:

  • Too many selection criteria. Some people do not feel confident applying unless they meet 100% of the written criteria, including negotiable ones.
  • Lack of flexibility. Job posts can unknowingly exclude people with limited mobility when they demand on-site presence. These include people with families or workers with disabilities. If not necessarily required, consider offering a flexible working arrangement. The same goes for interviews and assessment — provide both on-site and virtual meeting options. 
  • Formal qualifications. Emphasis on formal schooling and degrees can exclude talented candidates whose skills have been honed differently, such as alternative education or informal training. 

#3 Take Proactive Steps To Find Diverse Talent

A few proactive steps such as the ones below can greatly expand your candidate pool:

  • Advertising broadly to networks that highlight underrepresented groups
  • Intentionally asking for inclusive shortlists from recruiters who seek diverse applicants
  • Tapping into government resources that provide employment avenues for workers with alternative education or training
  • Seeking partnerships with schools and graduate universities with diverse student bodies
  • Hosting recruitment fairs and inviting underrepresented groups

Simple actions like these translate a company's vision of diversity into reality with easy and practical steps.  

Reducing Bias

Inclusive hiring actively combats homogeneity in workgroups and teams. But it only works when inclusivity is instilled in the hiring process itself.

Again, a skills-focused orientation is a key to guarding against hiring prejudices. Here are several guidelines to reduce bias in your hiring practices:

#1 Structure Interviews

Create structured application protocols that emphasize skills and expertise. Ask every candidate the same skill-based questions to avoid reliance on irrelevant factors such as formal training and associations. Unstructured interviews often allow gender, education, and other background information to show through. It also allows strong personality styles to influence interviewers to the detriment of less outspoken candidates. 

Advanced hiring platforms help HR/recruiters get more insight from interviews with video recording and confidence scoring. These features help decision-makers review candidates’ responses more objectively and refocus attention on skills as necessary.

#2 Use Blind Recruitment

Interviewers can choose to remove information that gives away applicants’ gender, race, location, and other identifying data. Applicant photos can also be deleted or obscured during assessment or ranking. 

Hiring software can aid in initial vetting and scoring/ranking to ensure an independent process. This tool also promotes fair competition as several candidates are considered for the position instead of a few handpicked profiles.

#3 Establish Evaluation Criteria

Setting objective criteria for assessment beforehand helps interviewers evaluate candidates objectively. Standards should be quantifiable and qualifiable, leaving no room for the redefinition of approval metrics during the interview. 

Using work sample tests with pre-defined evaluation criteria is a great way to reduce bias in the assessment stage. Hiring platforms can further help in automatic scoring and leaderboard ranking so interviewers can make an informed decision about candidates.

Build Diversity With Skill-Based Assessment

Finding diverse candidates starts with focusing on skill and reducing the influence of factors irrelevant to the job. Companies can further attract diverse talent by limiting applicant deterrents and reaching out to networks working with underrepresented groups. Reducing bias in the hiring process means using structured interviews, blind recruitment, and skill-based assessment with objective criteria.

No company is perfectly diverse, and they all have their own identity and culture. But with a few intentional steps, companies can tap into a richer pool of talent and start to build diversity.

Filtered is a leader in skill-based, data-driven recruiting technology. Our end-to-end technical hiring platform enables you to spend time reviewing only the most qualified candidates, putting skills and aptitude at the forefront of your decisions. We’ll help you automate hiring while also applying subjective, data-driven techniques to consistently and confidently select the right candidates.

Finding diverse candidates? See what Filtered can do for you. To get started,
contact our team today or register for a FREE demo