“Nothing is more important than hiring the right people. In order to execute a company’s vision, its growth must rely on its human capital. This is what drives all business functions to success.”
HR teams are the gatekeepers of our companies, trusted to drive us forward. Most companies are driven by their workforce, and the paradigm for successful recruiting and its link for business success is well known. But what is the secret to a good hire? How can we know that a candidate is a right fit for us? Fits a specific job requirement or for best aligns with our company’s culture? Although there may be different opinions as to what makes a good recruiter, there is a consensus on how recruiters tend to make poor decisions in the recruitment process due to inherit and unconscious biases.
Why recruiters are making those poor decisions? Surely the success of their company is and should be, their main goal. With a financial cost of a bad hire ranging between an average of $10K for a mid-level position an average of $50K for management level positions according to a CareerBuilder study, an unsuccessful hire can be devastating to a company. However, in recruiters defense, it’s important to note that most biases have been formed in our brains through years of different influences we often had no control over. In most cases, even while recruiters adopt and implement programs that they believe to be free of bias, they still fall short due to the massive amount of CVs they are faced with.
“Unconscious biases are sometimes just a way of a recruiter to exclude a candidate because of the high volumes of CVs he’s getting”
Although CEOs are constantly discussing diversity and inclusion within their company, and the importance of integration and awareness of the business cases for I&D is growing rapidly and how it directly links to business performance, the recruitment process is still entirely interested in the hands of entry-level, inexperienced HR personnel. These teams usually must face a constant stream of resumes, more often than not, unrelated to their areas of expertise. Without a proper platform to prioritize candidates on a purely professional basis, recruiters turned, unconsciously, to prioritize candidates based on many other factors.
There are many types of common biases in recruitment across the board, in different areas of the recruitment process. Even prior to a candidate’s interview, recruiters use implicit bias that can affect a candidate’s chance to even be invited in for an interview. From the halo and horn bias, gaining an overall impression of a person that creates an unconscious bias, to Leniency and confirmation bias, our tendency to relate to a candidate and rate him or her according to our own beliefs. Unfortunately, when the piles of resumes are stacking up, candidates fall into predetermined slots in our brains and categorized accordingly.
BRIDGING THE GAP
Although it’s impossible to completely eliminate the effects of bias in the recruitment process, companies must invest and find ways to build strategies that counteract bias understanding the importance of diversity and improve their sourcing skills aiming for for gender, age, and ethnic diversity. A 2018 report by McKinsey, ‘Delivering Through Diversity’, found a statistically significant correlation between diverse teams and financial outperformance and gender diversity is correlated with both profitability and value creation. Another research finds inclusive teams make better business decisions 87% of the time.
With those indisputable numbers, companies must find ways to substantially reduce if not eliminate unconscious bias. Some of the solutions available are tools that help us use data-based candidate screening methods, using Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning algorithms. Investigating your ‘company culture’ and ‘culture fit’ and making sure it does not perpetuate bias. Building a collaborative hiring process which helps people to check their biases and uncover blind spots and more. In the end, bridging the gap and making a more diverse workforce is worth it – and even though sometimes an additional initial investment is needed, the return of investment is not only promised – but highly rewarding.