Racial Bias In Hiring Process

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Racial Bias In Hiring Process

When people group together to decide on a business hiring plan - scoping out skill and headcount gaps for their teams, deciding on core competencies, etc - ideally they are planning to hire the candidates who best fit those skill sets.

Unfortunately, the reality is that candidates are sometimes selected based on qualities unrelated to the tasks required in the job. It’s an important and highly relevant topic of discussion in today’s world - from horrifying stories of outright racial discrimination on the news to social media posts about indisputable pay gap data, it’s clear there is plenty of work to be done in order to cut racism out of hiring for good. One of the most foundational activities a company can do to create a more diverse and inclusive working environment is to remove racial bias from the employee recruitment process.

Racial bias in hiring processes can occur throughout the recruitment cycle; the job description itself may include language biased against people of different races. Before even meeting with a candidate, their application may get rejected because of an unfair judgment based on their race or ethnicity. Once candidates enter the interview process, hiring teams may be making unfair assessments because of racial bias in job interviews. 

Here are just a few examples of what racial bias can look like in hiring processes:

1.) A job description includes “Master/Slave” to describe database infrastructure
2.) A candidate is viewed less positively after an interview because of their accent
3.) A recruiter assumes a candidate is less educated based on how their name is spelled

The language used and the way information is processed and interpreted throughout the recruitment cycle are just a few places bias can slip into hiring processes and influence hiring decisions, even when the hiring team is not consciously or intentionally being biased.

The consequences of allowing racial bias to influence a company’s hiring process include poor employee retention rates, low diversity profiles and low employee satisfaction. While some executives may not think of these metrics as key indicators of success in the business, without retaining strong employees or developing teams with diverse experiences, a company risks costly recruiting expenses and even potential missed targets and deadlines.

The key to removing racial bias in hiring lies in how hiring teams are training and operating. By conducting continuous training and interview coaching with a dedicated program around DE&I (diversity, equity, and inclusion), you are more likely to reduce bias in the hiring process. The challenge with this workflow is that you can only proactively strategize prior to an incident or reactively course correct once you’ve identified racial bias occurring (which also requires constant monitoring to identify).

This is why Pillar’s Interview Intelligence platform exists; to automate monitoring for bias in real time and provide live coaching and training to interviewers. Companies using Pillar are improving candidate experiences, reducing employee turnover, and removing bias from the interview process.

If you are interested in reducing the risks of racial bias in your organization’s hiring process, feel free to check out our guide to 4 Ways Interview Intelligence Impacts DEI here.

Discrimination In Hiring Process

Racial bias is a term used to describe how racism influences thinking. Racial discrimination is a term used in hiring processes when racism influences actions. There are many consequences of racial discrimination in hiring processes - including legal and financial repercussions. Cases of discrimination in the hiring process should be taken very seriously (for obvious humankind reasons, in addition to avoiding extreme risk to the business). 

The best way to remove racial discrimination in hiring processes is to understand what racial discrimination is, what the laws and regulations are around it, and what the best practices are for managing situations when it arises. 

Take the time to get educated and then partner with your human resources team to roll out a training program. That way, all employees are aware of discrimination policies and have the opportunity to learn how to remove racism from the workplace by doing their part.

Once you have implemented an initial training program for removing discrimination, continue to survey candidates and new hires on their experience with your team in order to monitor and identify potential areas for further improvement. Unfair hiring practices examples can be found in many businesses - by keeping tabs on what it looks like, what the laws are, and how to avoid it, you will set yourself and your colleagues up for better success in the long run.

Pillar’s Interview Intelligence solution automatically monitors and surfaces potential areas of racial bias in the interview process while providing real time coaching to your interviewers in order to course correct as they go in addition to reducing the risk of a biased hiring decision.

For more ideas on how to remove bias in hiring, check out this article on 6 Ways to Combat Interviewer Bias here.

Systemic Racism In Hiring Process

According to a Harvard Business Review article from 2017 on discrimination in hiring statistics, hiring discrimination against Black Americans has not improved in the last 25 years. Due to a long history of racism in the United States, systemic racism in hiring processes has been prevailing, in spite of more and more conversations around improving DEI in the workplace. Black Americans are not getting hired because of race, and as a result companies are losing out on quality talent.

By addressing racial bias in hiring processes, companies can begin the important steps to finally improve these statistics and hire the right candidates, based on skills and not race. In order to remove racial bias from recruitment, companies need to do at least these 5 things:

1.) Acknowledge that racial bias may be influencing hiring
2.) Understand where racial bias is entering the recruiting process
3.) Develop and implement DEI and anti-bias training programs for employees
4.) Monitor employee satisfaction and engagement to identify further areas of improvement
5.) Continuous and ongoing training for employees (this is not a “one and done” task)

In order to improve the hiring process, it’s worth noting that companies need to have a strong, unbiased, and supportive infrastructure that is able to set future diverse hires up for success. Otherwise, companies will continue to see employee turnover and ongoing challenges with racial bias.

Racial Discrimination Interview

While the discrimination in hiring statistics mentioned above are discouraging, the fact that you are here reading this page is a positive indicator that more and more people are working to learn and improve on themselves to remove racial discrimination in job interviews. 

One of the best ways to remove the risk of racial discrimination interviews occurring in your organization is by educating your hiring teams on racial discrimination and what is illegal and/or discriminatory behavior in hiring specifically. For interviewers that are new to hiring, they may not yet know that there are laws and regulations in place protecting candidates from racism questions for interviews. 

The most basic, watered down rule of thumb for interviewers is to not ask interview questions about race and ethnicity. Asking questions about race and culture in a job interview is a slippery slope from bias to discrimination, and could result in a lawsuit against your organization.

You can check out a few specific examples of What NOT to Ask in An Interview here.

Another way to ensure your hiring team isn’t asking illegal or discriminatory questions in a job interview is to provide a designated list of approved questions. By training your interviewers to ask specific questions, you can help them to better uncover a candidate’s core competencies, improve the candidate experience, and remove bias and discrimination from the interview process. 

Discrimination In Hiring
Process Statistics

On top of providing coaching and training to hiring teams and interviewers, companies can run reports or even hire out third party, neutral agencies to run statistics about discrimination in their organization. 

It’s uncomfortable for people to acknowledge that racism or discrimination may be occurring within their organizations and teams. However, executives and leaders who acknowledge the risks of unconscious bias and who provide allyship to their diverse team members are better positioned to take the right steps to remove discrimination in the workplace. By understanding discrimination in hiring process statistics with reports and data that are specific to your business, you can better tailor a plan to remove racism in hiring processes.

To get a quick glimpse at just a few ways companies can work to remove discrimination, here are 5 Mindful Habits to Reduce Unconscious Bias in Hiring.

There are agencies, consulting groups, and all sorts of educational resources dedicated specifically to removing discrimination in the workplace and setting up key foundational infrastructures for diverse and inclusive working environments. In addition to strategic partners and advisors, there are also many platforms and tools available to businesses that are designed to help reduce bias and discrimination in the hiring process specifically. 

Pillar’s Interview Intelligence solution empowers businesses to identify and remove bias in interviews and candidate feedback cycles. If you are interested in learning about more tools built to improve hiring, here are 4 Interviewer Tools That Will Change How You Hire Forever.

Hiring Bias Study

Conducting a hiring bias study will help your team figure out where racism and other biases may be impeding your company’s ability to hire efficiently and equitably. Using coaching and tools like Pillar’s Interview Intelligence platform, hiring teams can continuously improve recruitment and ultimately improve key business metrics like employee retention and candidate experience while removing the risk of discrimination occurring.