Creating The Best Talent Pools to Reduce Bias

Rachel Ludwig
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As a recruiter, it’s important that you have a wide range of exciting candidates to find the best fit for your open position. Being in a position to hire and recruit is a large responsibility and gives you the power to shape the workforce of tomorrow. However, if we continue to use the exact same recruiting practices in the long term, talent pools can become homogeneous and repetitive. 

Bias, or prejudice in favor of or against something, is coded into our everyday lives, no matter what our background. It’s our job to recognize negative bias, acknowledge how it shapes our hiring practices, and take active steps to reduce bias. 

So, how can we meaningfully engage with this practice and take tangible steps to ensure that our talent pools are welcoming spaces that include candidates from a range of backgrounds?

First, we’re responsible as recruiters and hiring managers to understand our own unconscious bias and how it impacts our hiring habits. Also known as implicit bias, unconscious bias encompasses a variety of forms of bias, including gender, race, age, looks, and more. Taking an assessment can help to identify which types of bias might be influencing your decision making without you even realizing it. This is an important first step to help us become aware and any areas we need to work on. 

Second, it’s important to create strategies to avoid falling into the patterns of our own unconscious bias. These strategies provide a framework to help us become more aware of the experiences of others and build a more hiring process. Here are a few strategies that can help you get started:

Ask for feedback from current employees: A great place to start in creating a more diverse, inclusive hiring pool is to survey your coworkers. Consider creating a open-ended questionnaire or an anonymous survey to allow your coworkers to give their input. This can help give your colleagues the opportunity to shine a light on any practices or patterns they have noticed in the workplace that need to change. 

Make job descriptions more inclusive: Consider the phrasing of your written job posting–does it encourage people from all backgrounds to apply? Reducing gendered language in job descriptions is one step you can take to make your postings more inclusive. It’s also useful to change “requirements” or “must have” sections to desired outcomes or goals. Studies show that women and BIPOC candidates are more likely to apply to positions where they meet 100% of the criteria listed, where men will apply even if they only meet 60% of the requirements. 

Create standards for interview and hiring process: The traditional interview format can be rather subjectivesubjective, and the outcomes can favor people who we like the most, rather than the most qualified fit for the position. Consider putting together a few standardized, quantifiable questions (such as multiple choice) that you give to all candidates. That way, instead of selecting the candidate whose verbal responses you “liked the most” you can see performance and capability in a more objective way. 

Ultimately, engaging with bias and working to reduce bias in hiring helps both employers and employees. Dynamic talent pools lead to a dynamic workplace and help you recruit a talented range of team members who are qualified matches for your latest openings. 

The information provided in this article does not, and is not intended to, constitute legal advice; instead, all information, content, and materials available are for general informational purposes only. 


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