Everyone has unconscious biases. These biases occur automatically and are caused by our background, upbringing, culture and other personal experiences. As human resources professionals and executive staff, it is our responsibility to address and dismantle these biases. Unconscious biases are not only detrimental to the work environment, but can also lead to potential legal troubles.
Often, unconscious biases translate into the work space. They prevent us from making sound and justifiable decisions that benefit the company as a whole. Examples of unconscious biases in recruiting include but are not limited to the following:
Dismissing candidates that have ethnic sounding names even if their resumes are a perfect match to the job description
Rejecting candidates without a valid reason like describing someone as not being the right fit
Associating gender to specific jobs
Assuming someone of a certain race would excel at a certain task because of stereotypes
Stereotyping based on age such as assuming an age group is less technology savvy or less hardworking
In order to mediate unconscious biases we should always question vague judgements before decisions are made. Organizations that have implemented a diversity and inclusion policy are already disrupting unconscious biases by taking measures to make sure diverse candidates are recruited. Many recruiting managers have begun to review resumes with names, addresses, and years redacted in order to prevent bias when selecting candidates to interview. Other available tools are Bias Assessments such as Harvard’s Implicit Association Test (IAT), which help those who are unaware of their unconscious biases to become more conscious.
Please contact your designated HR advisor for how your policies and practices can be made more inclusive.