How to hire the right person – part 2: Avoid bias in interviews

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4 mins, 53 secs read time

It’s never easy trying to hire the right person for a role. Today’s most successful recruiters know that great talent most likely already has a job. This means you have to go above and beyond when it comes to creating an inclusive hiring process.

In part one of this blog series, we discussed how to hire the right person by setting up an inclusive and structured hiring process, based on a recent conversation with BambooHR. Now, we’re sharing how you can avoid bias in interviews to help you fairly assess which candidate is right for your role.

The keys to fair interviewing

It’s next to impossible to completely eliminate bias. But we can do our best to at least avoid bias in interviews. To take things a step further, what if we also added inclusion to our hiring practices? Structured interviewing and hiring does both.

Using Greenhouse, you can create a structured hiring process that helps curb bias. It starts with:

For example, at Greenhouse we saw underrepresented candidates fall off during our take-home assignments. We analyzed our reports and saw an opportunity to be more inclusive. Our language had alienated candidates, so we removed the jargon and technical verbiage.

We were able to course-correct. Structured hiring allows you to make tweaks like this that have a significant impact.

Set candidates up for success

One of the best ways to level the playing field is to prepare candidates for success. Mason highlighted some applicant disadvantages that might not be as obvious, like:

  • Never receiving interview coaching

  • Not having connections at the company

  • No interview experience

  • Limited access to resources

These can all affect how they interview and whether they make it to the next round. But you can set them up for success. At Greenhouse, that looks like:

  • Sharing what interviewers will be talking about ahead of time

  • Letting interviewees know who they’ll be talking to and that person’s title

  • Providing a link to the "Interviewing at Greenhouse" landing page with tips and what to expect

Doing the internal work

Anita creates interview panels to decrease bias within BambooHR. They allow the interviewers to see and call out potential biases if there’s an outlier in the group. It’s an effective way to catch and correct biases.

Other ways Anita gets rid of bias at BambooHR include:

  • Sending interview questions to the panel ahead of time so they know what to focus on

  • Letting the panel know who they’ll be interviewing

  • Reminding hiring teams to focus on core competencies so they get the most qualified candidate

  • Sending reminders to complete their scorecards. Most of the information taken in during interviews disappears within 24 hours. Timeliness is crucial for accuracy

There are many ways to create a more inclusive hiring process. Mason reminded us that it’s not about huge, sweeping changes, but the small changes that can have a big impact:

Small changes really go a long way. You can create safe spaces by adding pronouns to your LinkedIn, Zoom, email signature. Go a step beyond. Have your hiring team do the same. Ask what accommodations you can make for your candidates to set them up for success.

Scoring candidates and interviews

You’ve done everything possible to avoid bias in interviews and set your hiring team and candidates up for success. Now, use your scorecards and structured hiring process to find the best person for each role.

But how do you get your interview panel to complete the scorecard? How do you get everyone on the same page with scoring? We’ll show you how.

1. Get the hiring team together and discuss what scores mean

If you give a candidate a score of five, what does that look like? Is it demonstrated experience and being able to provide specific examples? Anita discussed the importance of consistent scoring and getting the team to align on what each score looks like.

2. Score for competencies and culture

At BambooHR, they believe their values are the gateway to success. They focus heavily on scoring for culture-adds. The hiring team agrees on what each score means for culture and how they can tell if someone will add to it.

The team also sets standards for scoring based on the attributes needed to be successful in the role. All this helps them hire the most qualified candidate.

3. Submit timely feedback

It’s crucial hiring teams submit their scorecards fast. It keeps the process moving and prevents bias from creeping in over time.

  • Remind hiring teams you’re trying to help them, and you need the scorecards to do so

  • Send automated reminders if someone hasn’t submitted their scorecard

  • Ask interviewers to block off time after the interview to fill out the scorecard

Ready to put your plan into action?

We’ve armed you with a process and a plan. Now it’s your turn to put it to use in your search for the right candidate. Remember, it starts before your role is live and you start interviewing.

It begins with a structured hiring process. But Anita and Mason also suggest focusing on the less tangible parts of the process. Things like remembering that how you treat people represents your brand.

Top talent wants to work with the best – prioritizing the candidate experience can do just that... and help you find the best person for the job.

Want to find the right hire? Of course you do. Catch the replay for tips on finding, interviewing and hiring your next hire.

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Sheena Fronk

Sheena Fronk

is a writing-obsessed entrepreneur who founded her all things writing passion project turned small business, wanderluster co. She works with SaaS and tech companies, transforming jargon into conversations using human-centered copy. When not working, Sheena eats doughnuts, plays with her pup and travels the world.

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