Diversity hiring initiatives are rarely the number one concern of businesses, and LinkedIn’s 2015 Global Recruiting Trends report demonstrates this perfectly. In fact, only 9% of small companies prioritize diversity hiring.
Large companies fare slightly better with 15% of them making diversity hiring a priority. However, it’s also worth noting that diversity was not mentioned at all in LinkedIn’s 2016 Global Recruiting Trends report.
Unfortunately, we’re still living in a world where under-qualified men are 25% more likely to gain employment in STEM fields than similarly qualified women, and where white candidates are 50% more likely to be hired than black candidates across the entire job market (source).
Here are some of the ways technology can improve diversity hiring:
1. Make your hiring managers aware of any subconscious bias they might have
While we might like to think we are acting in the most rational and logical manner, the truth of the matter is that many of us carry subconscious biases. These are often a product of the environment in which we live, and remaining unaware is what enables lack of diversity hiring in the workplace.
As part of your onboarding process for recruiters or hiring managers, make it compulsory for these individuals to take part in the Implicit Association Tests. IATs can determine whether an individual has any subconscious biases that might affect their diversity hiring decisions.
You can make the results of these tests confidential, as the goal for employees is to become more aware of themselves, not have them shamed by others. By becoming more aware, hiring managers can change how they source candidates to remove any unfair biases.
2. Remove gender bias in job listings
Textio, a new app for recruiters and hiring managers, analyzes your job listing and provides instant feedback on whether the language you’re using skews more towards masculine or feminine.
It might seem implausible, but certain verbiage can carry subconscious gender bias and might actually be dissuading certain gender identities from applying to your positions. By substituting this language for a more neutral choice of words, you can make sure your job listings are as welcoming as possible to all interested parties.
3. Encourage anonymous applicants
People make first impressions rather quickly. Sometimes even after just seeing your name. Case in point: in 2014, José Zamora was having difficulty getting job interviews, despite sending out 50-100 resumes per day. After changing the name on his resume from José to Joe, companies inundated his inbox with interview requests.
A 2014 report even confirms that that “discrimination appears to be strongest at the time when employers decide whom to interview” (source). In order to prevent gender or racial bias, we recommend you implement an anonymous application process. Doing so improves neutral hiring and gives applicants an even footing.
Also, implementing standardized application forms, allows hiring managers to focus on the information they’re looking for. Thus, streamlining the screening process.
The only cause for concern with anonymous applications is affirmative action compliance. Certain aspects of a candidates’ profile, such as gender, must be made available in order to hit diversity hiring quotas.
4. Implement data-driven recruiting
A rejection based on cultural fit is often code for some kind of hidden bias. Although cultural fit is an important aspect of hiring, it’s not easy to gauge within just a few meetings.
For example, a male who appears confident in an interview setting might come across as a strong leader. But, the hiring manager perceives a woman with the same attributes as difficult to work with or bossy. Ultimately the hiring manager goes with the male candidate over the female candidate. The reason? The female candidate wasn’t a great cultural fit.
Keep employee records that contain objective data points like education, source-of-hire, or years of experience. Determine who your top performers are and start looking for trends in the data. Then, if a future applicant aligns with these trends, you no longer have to rely on gut instincts. You now have data to support your hiring decisions.
Originally published on March 9, 2016.