Diversity in the Workplace: Are your Biases affecting your hiring practices?

“Diversity” is a word that often gets mentioned in the corporate setting: “workplace diversity” and “diversity initiatives” are continually discussed and encouraged, but are we doing everything we can to truly have a culturally inclusive environment?

Cultural diversity in the workplace is the act of having employees of different genders, races, sexual orientations, socioeconomic statuses, religions, ages, and cultures all under the same roof working together. Data shows that a diverse, multicultural workplace improves companies in several ways. For instance, having a variety of different perspectives allows for new, innovative ideas that can shape business practices for the better. Data also shows that a company with diverse workforce is more prosperous, as they are better equipped to handle a global market and communicate with a broader audience.

“Growing companies benefit from thinking outside of the box and keeping up with the times. This is best accomplished when you have a diversified group of people.  You want to have a variety of people in your office, like people that are persuaders, scholars, mavericks, specialists, analyzers, controllers, and adapters. If you can keep an open mind and withhold judgement, then you can accomplish great things,” says Sharon Tsao, CMO of Contemporary Staffing Solutions. 

In order to have diversity, however, we must be aware of unconscious biases that can affect the hiring of new employees.

What can you do to appeal to and hire great people?

Check yourself

When you’re looking to add a new member to your team, you might already have a picture in your head of what this person looks like. If your team currently consists of people in their twenties and early thirties, maybe you picture this person as being young. If your team is mostly made up of women, maybe you’re expecting to hire a woman. Try to erase all this. After all, you want someone who has the right skills and personality to succeed in this role, so their appearance is not too relevant. Open your mind to whoever this person may end up being and make sure anyone else involved in the process does too. If someone on your team has strong, uncompromising views about what this candidate should look like or who they should be, consider not involving them with hiring (and if they have strong prejudices, consider not having them in your company at all).

Make sure the job description is neutral

Language has certain connotations, so evaluate the words being used in your job descriptions. Are you using words that appeal more to men? To women? Make sure your word choice varies so that your job description is not geared to a specific demographic.

Blind resumes

In order to truly avoid bias, review applicants’ resumes after their names and addresses have been removed. There are programs that will do this for you or you can get someone to do this for you who is simply not involved with the rest of the process.

Have structured interviews

Come up with a set of questions to ask during the interview and ask each candidate the same ones. To make it more formal, figure out ahead of time what the ideal answers are to these questions and come up with a rubric on which to grade their answers.

Give candidates assessments

This part can come before or after the interview. While you may like one of the candidates you interview for your position, it can be difficult to see how good they’ll be at their job just based on the interview alone. What better way to test someone’s skills than to have them perform the job? Think of it like handing out homework. You can give candidates a quiz, a presentation, or a writing activity. Give each candidate the same assessment and the same amount of time to complete it. The results will be telling, and you’ll rest easy knowing you picked the right person for the job.

Need some more tips? Check out our other blogs here and reach out to Contemporary Staffing Solutions with help on with your job search or hiring needs!

Contemporary Staffing connects job seekers to hiring managers nationally in the following professions: Accounting & FinanceCall Center & OfficeHuman ResourcesITSalesforce, and Sales & Marketing.