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How to eliminate bias and hire the right candidates using digital assessments

It is no secret that diversity and inclusion is essential to successful businesses, recruiting candidates regardless of age, race, status, or disability is not only essential but beneficial. Key data has found that corporations identifying as more diverse and inclusive are 35% more likely to outperform their competitors. (McKinsey) However, to have a diverse corporation, companies must first reach a wide range of candidates and assess both fairly and effectively to hire the right individuals. But what happens when the final hiring decision is distorted by bias? Could your screening process be unknowingly biased? Let’s find out.

When does bias enter your hiring process?

Hiring bias can occur at any stage during the candidate shortlisting process or during face-to-face interviews where judgements are made using gender, physical appearance, education, age, or several other factors. Science shows that our minds make up to 35,000 decisions daily, intuitively before we are even aware of it. This means that often unconscious or implicit bias has become an uninvited party in the process before the candidate has had a chance to demonstrate the skills and qualities you seek to fulfil a role. Recruiters are not immune to implicit bias, so often when the candidate is judged based on these qualities, particularly at the initial stages - discriminatory factors can, unfortunately, outweigh the skills, abilities, or experience that qualify the candidates to do the job they have applied for. It is no longer enough to make hiring decisions using traditional outdated methods alone, recruiters must deploy modernised digital assessments like Sova, to boost fairness in recruitment at every stage of recruitment for a fair end-to-end process.

What are the most common types of recruitment bias?

There are several types of bias that affect hiring decisions. The way we think is largely shaped by unconscious biases which influence the way we perceive reality. This is often formed according to upbringing, social groups and even our exposure to diversity. Hiring decisions should be objective and free from subjectivity or preconceived ideals but since bias is often unconscious, it can be hard for most people to separate their own views from the individual candidate.

The most common bias that appears in hiring decisions include:

  • Confirmation Bias: The most common type of bias is confirmation bias, which is when recruiters only consider candidates who confirm their preconceptions about the ideal candidate for the role.
  • Overconfidence Bias: Like confirmation bias, recruiters rely on their expertise alone, casting judgement on candidates based on their own hiring experience and disregard the candidates’ skills or job suitability.
  • Affect Heuristics: This bias is based on current recruiters' emotions and feelings at the time of the interview or assessment. An unfair decision is made according to the current emotional condition at the time of the interview whether that’s excitement, surprise, panic, or annoyance.
  • Halo Effect: Often based on looks and body language, this can be similar to first impression bias. Most candidates dress to impress but the halo effect occurs when the interviewer gets carried away by the candidate's appearance or physical attributes.

Recruitment Bias
Identify four common types of bias in the workplace.

What is the role of digital assessments in reducing bias?

So now that we have established the types of bias that could be denting your hiring decisions, what is the next step your company can take to reduce bias now and for good? The answer is - digital assessments. Digital assessments can massively improve the recruiting process and with the rise of a remote-focused workforce, companies are increasingly using digital assessments to eliminate bias and hire the right candidate. With a range of digital assessments to choose from including Cognitive ability tests, Personality tests, Skill assessments and online recorded scoring criteria systems in one place – online assessments are helping to recruit higher quality candidates more accurately and quickly than ever before and reach a wider talent pool globally.

Choosing the right assessment platform will ensure an unbiased and seamless end-to-end recruitment process, carrying you through selecting the right candidate through to development after hire. With this approach, companies see improved staff retention and increased job performance when they implement efficient hiring processes because the right candidate is hired for the right role the first-time round. Our work with retail bank Santander, delivered high success rates, accurately identifying 89% of high performers. As a result, a greater level of retention was forecasted due to a more accurate approach to job fit. But most importantly, assessments which aim to eliminate bias during the hiring process are helping make recruitment and selection fairer and more representative of the diversity in the workforce. By collating a series of valuable data all into one platform, it has never been easier to monitor and optimise your processes on a continuous basis, for ensured unity and fairness across the board. Having the right tools can ensure your company never misses the mark. All companies should be using this technology to mitigate unconscious bias and help turn talent pools into more diverse workplaces.

Digital assessment centres are key in going a step further for fairness. By using an objective rating criteria to ensure an unbiased outcome, your assessors can score and log all candidates against the exact same criteria in real-time. The ratings given to candidates are also logged online, which has the added benefit of guaranteed fairness for the long haul. Assessor score analysis over time means they can be studied over a period to identify whether an assessor is consistently scoring higher or lower in favour of a specific type of candidate.

At Sova we recognise that to properly address the issues surrounding inequality, employers need to actively start removing these biases from their recruitment and selection
process, no matter the size of the organisation or the seniority of their employees. Whether this is by helping a multinational company remove its bias toward specific applicants in its graduate roles or helping smaller talent acquisition teams to stop making assumptions about a candidate's skills based on their name and gender.

As the gender pay gap scandal has also highlighted, biased recruitment practices are killing diversity in the workplace; from unconscious bias to the lack of representation of women in the workforce, recruiters are failing to remove these factors when filling positions with suitable talent. After all, no one can effectively perform to their full potential if they are being unfairly judged according to gender, sexual orientation, or age. By using digital assessments, you can eliminate bias from your recruitment process and hire the best candidate for the job. Assessments provide an objective view of candidates and their skills, so you can be sure that you are making the best decision for your business. Sova's digital assessment platform is the perfect way to reduce bias in the hiring process, allowing you to build a diverse, productive and thriving workforce. Here at Sova, our assessments are carefully tailored using years of scientifically backed data and research, coupled with smart technology, so you can be sure that your hiring decisions are based on data, not personal biases.

Takeaway

By taking the first step to analyse which biases may be affecting your recruitment processes, you are already on the right track to becoming a fairer and more diverse workforce! The next step is action, put a plan in place to uphaul or revamp your recruitment tech today and quickly see a long-lasting change and improvement in your job retention rates, productivity and more. Not sure where to start? Why not book a demo with us and let’s talk through this together?

Make a change

You've completed the first step and identified which type of bias could be hampering your processes, now it's time to ramp up the action and implement new technology to create long-lasting change and eliminate bias for good. We'd love to chat and go through this together, why not book some time in with us this week?

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