Are You Letting Unconscious Bias Affect Your IT Hiring Decisions?
Hiring bias is something rarely talked about but is a common problem that impacts companies whether they notice it or not. While you may fully grasp that a lack of diversity impacts your IT department on a larger scale, you may not notice how your unconscious bias is affecting the choices you make when hiring. Unconscious bias occurs when you make decisions based on factors that don’t appear discriminatory. For example, you may decide not to hire someone with a certain personality type because you had a bad experience in the past, but that can affect your entire process, and the experience and quality of candidates. But how do you learn to eliminate your unconscious bias from your decision making process when hiring for your IT department? Here are a few things to consider.
- Create a structured interview process. If you don’t go into each interview seeking the same information, you will find yourself making snap judgements before you even find out what the candidate can do. So many hiring managers decide to “go with their gut” on hiring decisions, but this can end poorly. You should have a standard set of interview questions for each job type and follow a structured interview process so every candidate has the same experience. You can create a checklist to ensure every person in consideration brings the right skills to the table.
- Consider a “culture add” rather than culture fit. “Fit” is a common buzz word in the hiring process, but what does that really mean? Certainly you want someone who can interact well with your current team and hold up your corporate values. But what if you focused on a way you could add value to your team? When considering whether or not someone would be a good fit, consider if they would also be a culture addition to the team and bring ideas, skills, or a perspective no one else has.
- Use verified skills testing. It’s also a good idea for you to rely on the very technology you work with to ensure you’re making the right decisions. Allow candidates to complete skills testing so you can compare apples to apples rather than taking everyone on their word regarding experience. You could also encourage candidates to submit samples of their work, which can be judged blindly before making a decision. For instance, Google sources employees and interns by challenging candidates to the same programming test online.
- Establish goals for diversity. Before you even start the hiring process, you could also challenge yourself and your department to set goals to hire for diversity. If you know what you’re looking for, you can enhance your department with people from a variety of backgrounds. This can help you diversity your IT department and ensure that you’re not falling back on bad hiring habits caused by unconscious bias. What does your IT department look like now? How can you add to the diversity? And remember, diversity doesn’t have to only refer to certain demographics. It can be backgrounds, personality types, or more.