Minimize biases and take a step toward hiring the best person for the job

Wondering how to avoid bias in interviews and your hiring process?

We all like to think that we are objective and that our hiring decisions are based on merit. Sure, we evaluate cultural fit to ensure that a candidate will fit in from his or her first day.

But the process leading up to the interview where you assess cultural fit?

That part should be objective… But too often, it isn’t.

What is Unconscious Bias?

You’ve probably heard of conscious bias .

These are explicitly held prejudices (both positive and negative) that frame an individual’s understanding of a type of person.

Biases exist toward all social groups. A person’s age, gender, physical ability, religion, weight, and even their hairstyle are all subject to bias.

Self-aware people will try to fight against their own conscious biases.

But there’s another form of bias that can yield similar consequences:

Unconscious, or implicit bias.

Unconscious bias stems outside of your own awareness. These are social stereotypes held about groups of people where you don’t even realize that you have a bias.

And everyone holds unconscious beliefs about various social and identity groups. Our brains create these stereotypes to quickly and easily categorize the social world.

Affinity bias

Similarly, we all carry affinity bias, where we unconsciously prefer people who share qualities similar to ourselves. With affinity bias, the brain sees similarity as familiar and relatable, trustworthy and safe.

In the Stone Age it made sense to have these biases. Your life pretty much depended on your ability to distinguish friend from foe.

But today? They are outdated and hurt our societies more than they help us.

Now, there is no way to cure unconscious bias. You can only become more aware of its existence.

So if you’re curious to discover where your own unconscious biases lie, then take one of the tests offered by Harvard’s Project Implicit. It’s quick and free to use. I highly recommend that you check it out.

Bias and Technical Hiring

In the tech community, most companies are working toward becoming more aware of these biases and how they affect their hiring processes.

These biases obviously hurt candidates, but they also make it easier to overlook great talent.

It’s in candidates’ AND employers’ interest to fix bias in the hiring process.

In a field like tech where talent is key and the status quo can't afford to pervade, it’s extremely important to fight conscious and unconscious stereotypes.

A technique to mitigate the effects of both conscious and unconscious bias is what we’ll look at next.

How Blind Recruitment Can Help

What is blind recruitment?

Put simply, blind recruitment is the process of anonymizing information that could be used to identify candidates in the initial stages of the hiring process.

Typically, this includes the résumé and cover letter.

Identifying information typically includes the candidate’s name, email address, physical address, gender, age, marital status, photo, interests, and in some cases, education details .

In other words, basically anything that may give the hiring team an indication of a candidate’s profile beyond pure merit.

The goal of blind recruitment is to empower qualified candidates from underrepresented or unique backgrounds so that they make it further into the hiring process than they may have had biases prevailed.

Successful blind recruitment is believed to increase diversity, which has its own slew of benefits for companies.

How do you make it work in your company, though?

The most common blind recruitment strategies require the assistance of a colleague who isn’t part of the hiring process.

Their job is to anonymize applications as they come in. The process is time consuming, because this helpful colleague typically has to remove or obfuscate identifying data manually before forwarding the application to HR or the hiring team.

But there is a simpler way. That’s what we’ll look at now.

How to Avoid Bias with CodeSubmit Bias Protection Mode

At CodeSubmit, we’ve created a feature called Bias Protection Mode.

The purpose is to mitigate the unconscious bias that will inevitably happen when evaluating talent and make this an easy process for you.

When Bias Protection Mode is enabled, users with “Reviewer” access will be able to review and comment on candidates’ submissions.

Candidates’ identifying data (name, email address, photo, etc.) will be anonymized.

This new feature serves at least two purposes.

Firstly, Bias Protection Mode is designed to support hiring teams in becoming more merit-based and less biased in their hiring process.

Bias Protection Mode reduces the likelihood that a consciously- or unconsciously-held bias will affect the reviewer’s impression of the assignment during the review stage.

Candidates can be confident that they will be assessed based on the merit of their submission instead of their name or photo.

Reviewers can be confident that they’re evaluating a submission without conscious or unconscious biases coming into play.

In addition, Bias Protection Mode serves as an added bonus for some of our clients who have stricter policies when it comes to who is allowed to view applicant data.

That means that with Bias Protection Mode enabled, hiring teams can distribute reviewing duties to members of their larger development team, bringing in reviewers who are otherwise not involved in the hiring process. No extra steps are required to maintain candidate anonymity.

There you have it. Now you know how bias can hurt your hiring processes and your candidates. You also know how to avoid bias in interviews and your hiring process. The answer is Blind Recruitment.

Blind Recruitment doesn’t even have to be that time-consuming. CodeSubmit’s Bias Protection Mode helps you create an anonymized process from the start.

At CodeSubmit, we’re empowering technical hiring teams to evaluate the best talent in the most intuitive ways.

We’re dedicated to helping you streamline your assessment process while providing the absolute best candidate experience.

So go ahead and take a step toward hiring the best person for the job, objectively; check out CodeSubmit and get started with your free 30-day trial.