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Unconscious bias and how to hire more inclusively2

Written by: Richelle Matthews, COO
August 24, 2020

Hiring based on resumes is outdated. Hiring managers typically spend less than 10 seconds reviewing a resume; enough time to glean a person’s age, gender, ethnicity, socio-economic level and make a decision on the candidate. These factors both consciously or unconsciously affect the hiring decision. So to become more inclusive, how do we move beyond the resume?

With diversity and inclusion at the forefront of business decisions, hiring managers need to find a more effective way to filter through candidates without being influenced by unconscious biases that typically lead to a monoculture.

As it stands now, we have candidates of colour taking steps such as “whitening” their resume, to get past the initial screening rounds. African American candidates who whitened their resume received a 25 per cent call back rate, versus only 10 per cent when their resume was not whitened. Asian Americans candidates received a 21 per cent callback rate with whitened resumes and only 11.5 per cent when they did not hide their ethnicity.

Companies and candidates need a better hiring process to reduce human bias from the process. Providing skills assessments, psychometric tests, or blind resumes all help to evaluate candidates more fairly. Putting these assessments up front gives hiring managers an opportunity to evaluate whether the individual has the skills for the role and the organization.

While companies continue to pour money into diversity and inclusion programs after candidates have been hired, the first step in building more diverse companies is to create a more inclusive hiring system.

The elimination of traditional resumes and the implementation of anonymous hiring is one of the best ways for companies to ensure that they are not discriminating against candidates of color. The best way to move forward is to acknowledge the past and do better in the future and more inclusivity and more diverse backgrounds and mindsets in the place of work is the best place to start, and so it goes, there is still lots of work to do.

Written by: Megan McClure, Marketing at Global Talent Accelerator.