Every year you circle the goal and ask your team to work on reducing the gender gap in your organization. Lunches, training, awareness programs, and women empowerment lectures make it to your year-long list of women empowerment initiatives.

But do you know all your efforts are going down the drain?

We say so because the gender gap is still as relevant as it was earlier. We are not where we should have been. This is because even though there are abundant initiatives taking place but when it comes to reality i.e., selecting a woman for the job, we are still clouded with our prejudices and judgments. Women are still more likely to get rejected for the same position if a man of equal caliber is contesting.

Hiring Bias - Gender Gap Report

Going with the theme of International Women’s Day, let’s #choosetochallenge the hiring biases that most women face in the workplace. Here, we list down five action items for you that you can use to challenge the prevailing biases.

1.  Start Reviewing Your JobDescription

Language in your job description plays an important role in making or breaking your brand. In place of attracting candidates, you must turn them away with the wrong language.

This is why you must remain cognizant of what you write in the job post and ensure it doesn’t support any prevailing biases.

For this, ensure no bias terms are part of your job descriptions. Eliminate gender, age, or other restrictive terms from the post. Check for masculine tones or words that ignore the other gender for the job. For example, use ‘Chairperson’ instead of ‘Chairman’ or Salesperson’ instead of ‘Salesman’ and ‘People’ instead of ‘Guys’.

2. Go Blind With Candidate Resume

Blind Hiring

In the last few years, blind hiring emerged as the go-to solution for eliminating biases of any kind.

This approach helps interviewers decide factually with the right information in hand. In most cases, information such as name, gender, age, and socio-demography are removed and only job, skills, and academic information are included. Anonymizing these details minimizes the subjectivity in the process and expands the objectivity in the selection, giving chance to more underrepresented groups.

Many evidence has shown that if gender was obscured in the job application, the chances of women getting selected also increased. Research found that before anonymization only 18% of women’s proposals were accepted for a scientific study. The number rose to 30% when it was fully anonymized and 23% when partially.

3. Craft Standard Interview Questions

This is one of the common mistakes most companies make that leads to hiring bias. In place of asking a standard set of questions, most companies leave it entirely to the interviewer’s discretion. Here, the interviewer may evaluate the candidate based on their first impression bias. This approach completely defeats the objectivity of the selection.

You must standardize the interview process to eliminate any such situation. Structuring the interview in place of leaving the questions up to the interviewer minimizes the bias and allows all candidates to be evaluated against the same criteria. This also takes the burden off the interviewer to come up with the questions.

Make sure to focus these questions on skills, qualifications, and other objective parameters. Follow a fair benchmark and data-driven approach to gauge candidates. You can also create an interview scorecard and mark the candidate’s responses to each question.

4. Aware Employees About Hiring Bias

Talk about it. Before taking action to curb these hiring biases, you must first acknowledge them. Unconscious biases are deeply ingrained in humans such that if they are left unacknowledged, they can fester the mindset and future of many deserving candidates.

Therefore, you must first accept that people do operate with biases and secondly spark a conversation around the topic. Let people brainstorm problems, solutions, and ideas to curb these biases. The more people are involved, the lesser work you will have to train them.

Awareness campaigns and training helps to acknowledge and uproot these biases. It lists out the potential biases and causes to further help with the solution.

5. Put Together Diverse Interview Panel

Hiring Bias Diversity

Build a diverse interview panel to prevent any biases. The more variety of opinions you have on a candidate’s eligibility the fairer result you can expect. Diverse interview panels add checks and balances around biases.

This is also a great way to signal that you value diversity which instills confidence and faith in a candidate. Another advantage of a diverse panel is it minimizes the unconscious bias in the decision-making process.

With a variety of opinions, you can be assured that no one bias can hold ground and affect the decision. A diverse perspective and opinions cut down biases and provide a holistic view of the candidate’s abilities.

Read More: Six Ways to Take Your Diversity Hiring to the Next Level

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