Diversity Hiring has become a key driver of diversity in the workplace. The focus on Diversity Hiring comes from the benefits of diversity. A research by McKinsey states that companies in the top 25th percentile for gender diversity on their executive teams were 15% more likely to experience above-average profits. The latest data showed that the likelihood has grown to 21%. Diversity has clear business benefits.
This makes Diversity Hiring a critical tool for success.
However, Diversity Hiring is not that easy. The Global Recruiting Trends report by Career International states that “78% of recruiters and hiring managers say that diversity is the top trend impacting how they hire.” However, The Recruiter Nation Study found that only 30% of recruiters have specific goals and policies in place that cater to racial and gender diversity hiring. Implicit bias is a real problem in the American workforce, according to 60% of recruiters.
This means that managers and recruiters must be trained for Diversity Hiring to overcome the challenges of that Unconscious Biases pose to Diversity Hiring.
Here are common hiring biases that managers should be trained to overcome:
- Confirmation Bias – This is the most common bias that hinders diverse hiring. Confirmation bias results in interpreting information in a way that it confirms with existing beliefs and hypotheses, other information is disregarded or misinterpreted. For example, an interviewer might focus too much on the family commitments of a female candidate assuming that she would be more inclined to meeting them. Her career drive may be disregarded due to confirmation bias.
- Affect Heuristic – This is a type of mental shortcut that allows humans to make quick decisions by considering current emotions like fear, pleasure, surprise etc. While this ability of humans is critical to survival and was particularly useful for our ancestors in the jungle, it makes hiring decisions biased. For example, assuming that people with tattoos are generally casual and not reliable. Or people a certain race or region are hardworking than others. This results in looking into a talent pool that has always worked rather than diverse groups.
- Expectation Anchor – This bias stem from relying too much on a single piece of information to decide. This piece of information is used as an anchor. For example, a hiring manager may focus too heavily on too many job changes for a candidate without adjusting the anchor to understand the reason for job changes. Or not hiring an expectant mother focusing too much on the fact of pregnancy rather than the long-term value she could bring to the organization.
- Affinity Bias – This bias comes from feeling a sense of security and pleasure with people who are like us in some way. Our ancestors relied heavily on this bias for survival and therefore viewed animals and even dissimilar people as a threat. In hiring this bias is often exhibited in the form of viewing candidates who are like you more positively. For example, hiring managers form a positive bond quickly with candidates who may speak the same language, are from the same place etc. and may overlook some of their challenges. This is a major roadblock in diversity hiring since hiring managers may hire people who are like them rather than people who bring in diversity.
These are just some of the biases that make diversity hiring a failure in many organizations. However, overcoming these biases is not easy. Hiring managers should be trained thoroughly on understanding, identifying and overcoming these biases. Ideally the training should be spread over a long period since the training focuses on change of mindset which takes time. Managers should also be made aware of the business benefits of diversity so that they feel more inclined towards looking at a more diverse talent pool.