As the economy begins to heat up, competition for great talent will increase. The pandemic and the resulting changes it has brought about in how work gets done creates a massive opportunity for companies to increase their diversity. One roadblock on the path to closing the diversity gap is the hiring process itself. It’s more important than ever to develop a structured hiring process that reduces bias and leads to more diverse, resilient teams.
Structure Reduces Bias
How? A structured approach to hiring lets your team collect and use data to make informed hiring decisions, rather than leaving those decisions up to chance or gut feeling – a surefire way to introduce bias into the process.
Decisions made on instinct are the same as those made on bias. As humans, we naturally reach flawed assessments of candidates based on things like first impressions, recency bias and peer pressure. One of the most important aspects of a structured hiring process is that it ensures a consistent and fair experience for every candidate, reducing bias every step of the way.
Your structured hiring process starts with shared organizational goals. When you outline the business objectives driving the need for a particular hire, and state the specific goals that will be achieved once the hire begins, the interview team can focus on advancing candidates with the right attributes to achieve those goals.
Gut instinct invites bias, yet it’s still used often as the deciding factor in hiring in ways that you’d never accept in how you run other parts of your business. When you take a structured approach to your hiring process and strategy, you are creating the space and framework to reduce bias and build an inclusive workplace from the very first touchpoint anyone has with your company, even before they interview.
Decisions Based on Data Better Drive Organizational Goals
Once you’ve interviewed enough quality candidates, it’s time to make a decision. While many companies put great effort into their sourcing and interviewing, too often they hit a wall when it comes to making the best hiring decision. Months spent running a great process can stall out with concerns about waiting for better candidates, going back to ones you’ve already met or delaying a decision until someone reaches an epiphany. All because of a feeling. Rather than looking at the facts, or rather, the data.
Indecision makes for a poor candidate experience and reveals a lack of cohesion around organizational goals. It’s also costing your company talent, time and money. We recommend a structured way to handle these decisions.
Four Steps to Creating a Structured Hiring Process
Recruiting teams have an important responsibility to hit their hiring goals which enables the business to succeed. Get set up for success by following this framework:
1. Assign clear responsibilities: The hiring manager is the ultimate decision maker. They are ultimately accountable for the success of the new hire and their team. The recruiter is the project manager, ensuring everyone stays prepared and informed throughout the process. They should also provide expert advice on the recruiting process and talent pool, serving as an internal consultant.
Interviewers and approvers serve as checks on the process. The approver (a department head, hiring committee, or even the CEO) should ensure that the hiring decision was made as thoughtfully and objectively as possible. They should verify that hiring decisions are being made consistently across roles and that compensation and titles are being offered equitably.
2. Gather Reliable Data: Before the process begins, interviewers need a scorecard of attributes that define success for that particular role. Interview teams should be as diverse as possible to make feedback more objective and to show candidates the authentic makeup of your team. Acknowledge that you can’t eliminate human biases entirely, but work to limit their presence in both your data and your final decision.
3. Standardize Evaluation: During the actual interviews, each interviewer should use an identical structure and set questions to assess each of the attributes on the scoring rubric. Structured hiring isn’t about what the interviewers felt or perceived, but rather how the candidate displayed attributes that will lead to success in the role. This structure creates an identical experience for every candidate to ensure a fair evaluation.
4. Define the Priorities: Prioritizing the attributes necessary for success in a role leads to more effective hiring decisions. When it’s time to make an offer, focus on the data points that tell you the most about those attributes. Separating nice-to-haves from must-haves prevents talented candidates who lack the right degree or who missed an Oxford comma from being left out of consideration. Also decide the attributes that are necessary but coachable based on your team’s existing skill set. This approach expands your pipeline of candidates and lets you hire for a broader range of talent.
Structured hiring is inclusive hiring, and it’s the only way companies can build a successful and diverse workplace culture. Using technology and processes to find and hire the right talent drives the difference between companies that win big, and everyone else
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