Jobs Hiring and How to Avoid Unconscious Bias in Diversity [Infographic]

By Brian Wallace Brian Wallace has been verified by Muck Rack's editorial team
Published on March 9, 2021

Despite the pandemic, there are companies with jobs hiring. When a company has diverse employees and leadership they greatly benefit. As broken down in the visual deep dive below, the 20 most diverse companies in the S&P 500 achieve higher long term profitability than their less diverse counterparts. Additionally, 53% of executives say diversity provides beneficial and varied skill sets. With diverse people, comes diverse ideas. Having different backgrounds present in a company’s employees and leadership improves the company’s creativity and profitability. 

What’s stopping companies from jobs hiring and promoting diverse people? 

A big block to achieving diversity is due to bias in the recruitment process. On average recruiters spend seven seconds looking at a candidate’s resume. Seven seconds is not enough time to push back against internal biases or look deeper into a candidate’s qualifications. Everyone is susceptible to these biases that hinder diverse hiring efforts. 

Similarity Bias in Jobs Hiring

With similarity bias, we tend to favor people who have traits similar to our own. These traits can be based on a person’s demographics or interests. Similarity bias harms efforts of diverse hiring by making it harder for people with diverse backgrounds, who likely have less similarities with the recruitment team, and easier for people with common backgrounds, who likely have more similarities with the recruitment team, to be hired.

Halo/Horns Effect

The halo/horns effect describes our tendency to believe our first impressions of a person are correct. This makes it extremely difficult to reevaluate our opinions of someone and examine our thought process for other potential bias. This effect makes combating implicit bias an uphill battle, cementing our faulty initial impressions of someone into our minds. 

Contrast Effect

The contrast effect benefits people who are immediately examined after a weak candidate. This can appear in different ways, but an example of it is when recruiters believe a person has strong qualifications because they interview right after a particularly weak candidate. When contrasted with the previous person, the following person appears stronger than they truly are.

Central Tendency Effect

The central tendency effect happens when someone attempts to combat their implicit bias, but they end up rating all the candidates about the same. It is a reluctance to rate someone more extreme because of a fear that it would be perceived as a biased rating. The effect ends up being harmful to the hiring process all around by dismissing good candidates and vauling weak candidates.

Surprisingly, this human bias can also appear in recruiting software and artificial intelligence, which are used by a majority of companies. Because recruiting software often scans candidates resumes for keywords based on searches done by the recruiters, the recruiters’ bias seeps into the system. 

How can we push back against bias and improve diverse hiring?

By setting clear goals, using diversity and inclusion training, expanding outreach with schools and other organizations, and making diversity a top value in the company’s leadership, we can improve hiring diversity efforts and put an end to workplace bias. Establishing distinct goals and tracking your progress to achieving them consistently pressures people to complete the tasks. D&I training creates a space for employees to share their opinions and ideas to improve. Expanding the company’s relationship with schools and other organizations supports the more diverse future generation of candidates. Making diversity an integral value to the company’s management ensures inclusion policies will be enforced throughout the company. 

A company of diverse employees and leaders is extremely valuable to their creativity and profitability. However, without actively combating bias in recruiting practices, this cannot be achieved. Companies must confront bias and work to promote diversity.

By Brian Wallace Brian Wallace has been verified by Muck Rack's editorial team

Brian Wallace is a Columnist at Grit Daily. He is an entrepreneur, writer, and podcast host. He is the Founder and President of NowSourcing and has been featured in Forbes, TIME, and The New York Times. Brian previously wrote for Mashable and currently writes for Hacker Noon, CMSWire, Business 2 Community, and more. His Next Action podcast features entrepreneurs trying to get to the next level. Brian also hosts #LinkedInLocal events all over the country, promoting the use of LinkedIn among professionals wanting to grow their careers.

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