How to identify and avoid discrimination in your recruitment process:

In 2010, a revised equality act was passed to combine 116 separate pieces of legislation into a single act. The equality act 2010, now the main piece of legislation regarding discrimination, ensures that individuals are protected from unfair treatment. Under the act, you must treat everyone with fairness, dignity, and respect, regardless of any differences.

And while you may think discrimination within recruitment processes is a thing of the past, think again! A recent study found that nearly a third of people have been turned down from a job because of their age. Unconscious biases can creep in and impact our everyday decisions and interactions, even when we are 100% committed to equality. For those responsible for recruitment and selection, it’s imperative to have a strategy that aims to prevent gender bias.

Ensuring a fair and unbiased recruitment process has a positive effect on your entire business. A recent study conducted by UC Davis revealed that out of the 400 companies who took part, those who have a high percentage of female executives have a 74% higher return on assets and equity. Overall, companies are 15% more likely to perform better if they are gender diverse. (Source: WES)

Here are some suggestions to reduce bias in your recruitment and hiring efforts.

  • Vet your job averts for suggestive language! Using extreme pro-masculine or pro-feminine vocabulary or requirements can deter potential candidates.  Words such as “exhaustive”, “enforcement” and “fearless” can prove more enticing for male applicants whereas, “transparent” “catalyst and “in touch with” attracted a more feminine tone.
  • Widen your net! Actively pursue diversifying your team, studies have showed a correlation between a more diverse team and increase in financial takings. Ultimately the more diverse the company the more money it was making.  
  • Script your interviews! Setting predetermined interview questions and paying attention to the setting to ensure a level playing field. Most recently a London based recruitment firm is now trailing robots to conducts its interviews.
  • Training! Follow Google and other major companies and take the time to educate your staff and address the problem instead of hiding behind it. Invest in training days. In 2018 Starbucks closed all of its stores for the day to host a mandatory training day for all employees on race awareness.
  • Be aware of the consequences! And this is why you need to be doing something about it. 6,000 black people in the state of Iowa claimed that they were victims, not to overt or deliberate discrimination but that potential employers were subconsciously favouring whites. Yes subconsciously. Well, they sued for $67 million less earnings.

To reduce bias and promote inclusivity, we hope that you will take active steps within yourselves and your business to implement strategies to support it. It would be great to hear of any active initiatives you have to take unconscious bias in the workplace.