Written by: barbara-hyman
Will COVID-19 be the bias interrupter we need so badly in hiring?
The rise in video platforms for hiring suggests we still have as strong a ‘bias’ towards having to see someone to hire someone, as there has been with having to see someone working in the office to trust they are working.
What will it take for that bias to be disrupted?
Mature organisations who have fully remote teams working in 75+ countries, hire remotely via text and/or email. No face-to-face and definitely no video interviewing, which can be a petri dish for bias.
It makes us wonder, how much do we really care about removing bias in our organisations?
Many companies are hurting right now. COVID-19 is forcing them to make lay-offs and tough decisions about the things that mattered to them. For some, Diversity and Inclusion initiatives have been the first to go. Given the havoc that COVID-19 has created in our economy, this loss of focus is somewhat understandable.
Then George Floyd died after a police officer held him down so he was unable to breathe. In the week since we’ve seen unprecedented statements coming out from companies in support of the #blacklivesmatter movement. This signifies a huge shift in how companies engage with these issues, but when we’re fighting institutionalized racism, and corporate America is a very much part of the institution, it doesn’t matter how powerful your statement is – unless you’re unwilling to take action and to change internally.
Bias in the recruiting process has been an issue for as long as modern-day hiring practices existed.
The idea of “blind applications” became a thing a few years ago, with companies removing names on applications thinking that it would remove any gender or racial profiling. It made a difference, but bias still existed though the schools that people attended, as well as the past experience they might have had. Interestingly, these are two things that have now been shown to have no impact on a person’s ability to do a job.
Artificial Intelligence was touted as the end-solution, but early attempts still ran through CVs and amplified biases based on gender, ethnicity, age – even if they weren’t recorded, AI created profiles comparing ‘blind’ candidates to those in roles currently (ie. white men) – as well as favouring schools and experience.
Enter blind screening
True bias in recruiting can only exist if the application is truly blind (no demographics are recorded) and is not based on a CV, but through matching a person’s responses to specific questions to their ability to perform a job. It has to be text-based so that true anonymity can be achieved – something video can’t do as people are still racially profiled.
To have a conversation about removing bias from your organisation – we would love to chat
Have you seen the 2020 Candidate Experience Playbook? Download it here.