If you or your company started thinking and talking about fairness in hiring, you are definitely in the circle of the best companies and visionaries in the world.
With the world and organizations becoming more diverse, employers are responsible for providing a fair and safe work environment. Fair hiring practices are flowering in the past period and becoming a solution to a multi-faceted problem.
Many companies rarely disclose that they spend significant amounts trying to find the so-called "best hire" because they have experienced the cost and the anguish of hiring the wrong person. And in addition to this, non-monetary cost of lost time, productivity, and morale.
That is the reason today's organizations across the globe are so invested in solving flawed and best hiring practices while introducing fairness in hiring. It's undeniable that scaling engineering teams is necessary and valuable, but fair hiring is the first step to success.
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But What Is Fair Hiring?
Fair hiring is the practice of hiring people based on their qualifications without regard to their race, religion, gender identity, or sexual orientation. It simply ensures everyone feels comfortable approaching new opportunities with confidence.
Every employer is responsible for promoting workplace diversity; of course, much of this is legislated through hiring laws and guidelines.
So, what are fair hiring practices?
Fair hiring practices require staying up-to-date with national and local hiring employment laws and regulations.
Introducing fair hiring practices is the first step to creating a more diverse workforce and achieving significant progress in employee engagement and productivity, as well as innovation and creativity. Fair hiring is the stepping stone to having an inclusive company with great financial success and offers a significant return on investment from both a performance and retention standpoint.
Still, how do you ensure fair hiring practices?
If you don't know where to start, here are five steps you can take in order to create a fair and inclusive selection process:
Step 1: Use Inclusive Language in Your Job Ads
The language in your job ad can be your first mistake that will affect the entire selection process. Many organizations, intentionally or not, can allow gender-coded language to seep into job ads and job descriptions, which can turn certain candidates off. There are a few important guidelines that might come in handy:
- Linguistic Inclusion: Take into consideration the language of the country you are posting your ad.
- Gender Inclusion: When using pronouns in your ad, make sure that they are not gender-specific to avoid hiring discrimination. For example, use a salesperson instead of a man or woman.
Also, use sensibility with words that have a feminine or masculine connotation. For example, strong or driven are more associated with man. Try to find neutral alternatives to include in the wording.
- Literacy Inclusion: Write in an accessible way, using short sentences, and use space in between to reduce "visual" noise.
- Industry Inclusion: Write your advertisement without jargon and especially without your own company jargon to make the text more accessible to a broader pool of candidates.
- Cognitive Inclusion: Crowded written texts are difficult to process. Use Arial, Verdana, Tahoma, Calibri, Open Sans, or similar fonts, and use bold for the words that you would like to point out.
Step 2: Always Have Clear Selection Criteria
Selection criteria sections relate to the qualifications, fundamental skills, work experience, and industry knowledge required for a role. The well-described selection criteria will also help the candidate to work out whether this is the right job for them.
So, the first and most important step is to determine your company's values. We all have been very well familiarized with the importance of a "cultural fit" when hiring the right tech talent and new employees. When we say cultural fit, we must be aware of this concept's many implications.
First, we are thinking of how that person would impact our organization, having in mind their values, beliefs, and behaviors.
Second, we need to clearly understand our company mission, vision, and values.
And third, by understanding what makes our business uniquely successful, we can understand each individual can impact or add value to our company's growth.
It is not an easy task to evaluate how well someone will fit into your company's culture and into the day-to-day workings of a business. But having a clear understanding of the company values and how they translate into behaviors can help us a lot in the process.
Step 3: Standardize Your Interviews
When introducing key standards into your interviewing process, you are assuring consistency and regularity, which will help you eliminate hiring bias.
One way of starting is by creating an interview script that each interviewer will follow. The script needs to contain an introduction to the company and a set of questions that each interviewer can choose from. Going off-script can sometimes prove fruitful in situations where the commonly used interview questions are not giving you a clear picture.
When setting the key questions, remember that you need to have both behavioral and situational questions. Don't forget to decide on what is an acceptable answer, especially when there is more than one interviewer.
Having a scoring system is essential to ensure objective decisions. For example, you can rate the answers on a scale of one to ten, ranging from low to high.
Even though structured interviews may appear cold and impersonal, the interviewer can be friendly and create a relaxed environment. This may involve letting the candidates express themselves without feeling they are being interviewed.
To do this, you can stay away from the word interview and call it a conversation, where you can begin first by introducing yourself and the company, giving the candidate the space needed to open up.
Step 4: Asses the Relevant Skills and Competencies
If you want to ensure fair hiring practices, don't just rely on a candidate's CV or your gut feeling. Instead, check whether they possess the relevant skills and competencies.
If you would like to measure behavior, personality, or logic, you can use situational judgment tests; cognitive ability assessments, or personality questionnaires. Make sure that you have a technical interview in place after the HR interview. Two people hiring process can eliminate any bias and can give a much clearer picture of the candidate.
In the Technical Interview, you can measure the following:
- Problem-solving capabilities.
- Communicational and Interpersonal skills.
- Teamwork and work with PMs, as well as technical knowledge and experience in the required field.
Step 5: Train Interviewers
Even the most experienced hiring managers can benefit from interview skills training.
One of the key skills that every interviewer must possess is how to combat biases and how to be aware of them. And this skill cannot be achieved with just one training; it takes time and effort. You can always start by discovering their hidden biases.
The best way to achieve self-awareness can be just a simple test such as Harvard's Implicit Association Test. Also, there are lots of educational videos online that have proved very useful and resourceful when it comes to an understanding and eliminating Unconscious bias, such as :
- 4 steps for busting unconscious bias
- Understanding unconscious bias | The Royal Society
- Unconscious bias: Stereotypical hiring practices. | Gail Tolstoi-Miller | TEDxLincolnSquare
Another important part of the training must include the importance of body language. Having an awareness of non-verbal cues can help interviewers refine their interviewing skills. So, first things first, interviewers should be trained to control their body language and use body language that creates a positive and open environment. Whenever the interviewer feels that the candidate is feeling anxious, the interviewer should make an effort to put the candidate at ease.
Another evidence of interviewers following hiring fair hiring practices would be that interviewers take notes throughout the duration of their interviews and maintain selection records.
As the world is constantly changing, workplace diversity is something that each company shouldn't overlook and has to avoid unethical hiring practices.
All businesses must ensure fair hiring practices act to all applicants. Track what candidates you're attracting and who you're hiring, and if some candidates are not receiving the same treatment and opportunities.
By implementing fairness in hiring, you won't be only recruiting more inclusively; you'll also gain other benefits like:
- Higher innovation and creativity
- Better decision making
- Variety of different prospectives
- Increased profits
- Faster problem solving