Best Practices for Equitable Hiring

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By: Rebecca Meharchand

This Black History Month, SWL is sharing concrete, proactive steps that employers can take to create and maintain equitable, diverse, and inclusive workplaces.

A great place to start is ensuring that your company has equitable hiring practices. This is an integral part of recruiting diverse, qualified candidates, and ensuring that your workplace is a welcoming environment.

  1. Develop clear and inclusive job descriptions and postings to attract a diverse pool of candidates.

Are your job descriptions inclusive? Are they posted to a wide variety of forums where diverse candidates may view them? Do your job descriptions allow for accommodations in the hiring process? These are all considerations that an employer can take into account when drafting a job posting in order to ensure that their job postings reach a wide range of potential candidates.

  1. Conduct redacted resume reviews to reduce unconscious bias during the initial screening process.

Studies have shown time and time again that unconscious bias plays a role in things such as application screening. By redacting names from resumes, employers can help to mitigate unconscious bias during the initial screening process to ensure that candidates are selected on the basis of their qualifications and experience, rather than their background.

  1. Implement structured interviews and use standardized questions to ensure a fair evaluation of all candidates.

Employers will want to meet candidates face to face for an interview, at which point, redacting names will only go so far. Free form interviews can create bias in selecting candidates. For instance, if an employer asks about things like hobbies and interests, they are likely to connect more with candidates who have similar hobbies and interests to their own. Chances are, people with similar backgrounds to the person conducting the hiring interview will have similar interests and experiences. A free form interview can solely focus on points of connection between the interviewer and the candidate, leaving room to further unconscious bias, as the interviewer will be more prone to selecting candidates due to the fact that they are similar to them, rather than on their merits. 

Implementing structured interviews with standardized questions can help mitigate biases because all candidates will be evaluated on the same questions. Interviews should ask thoughtful questions that are designed to elicit information about the candidates qualifications, with defined criteria to evaluate a candidate’s response. 

  1. Diversify the interview panel to include people from different backgrounds and perspectives.

Of course, another way to mitigate unconscious bias in the interview process is by ensuring that the interview panel itself is diverse. By having several different interviewers of diverse backgrounds and positions within the company, employers will be able to connect with a larger candidate pool, and ensure that people of different backgrounds are equally able to connect with the interviewers.

  1. Provide diversity and bias training to hiring managers and staff involved in the hiring process.

Providing training to hiring managers and staff involved in the hiring process will help ensure that they are actively working to combat unconscious bias in the interviewing and hiring stages. It is also important that this training be updated and revisited regularly to be in line with current best practices related to equitable hiring processes. 

  1. Monitor and regularly review hiring and promotion data to ensure equitable outcomes and identify any areas for improvement.

Once an employer has implemented some or all of these practices, it is important to monitor and review hiring data regularly to see if there are any areas for improvement, or whether the employer is seeing any major improvements in this area.
These are just some of the ways in which employers can work on creating more equitable hiring practices to cultivate a diverse workforce. For more information on how to implement equitable hiring practices in your workplace please contact your Seabrook Workplace Law lawyer.

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