November 23, 2022

Steps to Eliminate Bias During the Hiring Process

By: sanjay sathe

Companies that encourage a culture of diversity, equity, and inclusion at all levels represent the future of work. These companies also know that having a diverse senior leadership team is one of the best ways to bring positive change to corporate hiring practices. While many organizations are starting to work hard to bring more diversity into their senior leadership ranks, there is still more work to do, and it is essential to get started now.

Steps to Eliminate Bias During the Hiring Process

You’re a successful HR professional that’s enthusiastic, forward-looking, passionate, and filled with biases. Wait, what? As human beings, we’re all inclined to develop personal convictions. It’s natural. That said, recognizing your specific biases and how they impact your professional decision-making will allow you to make better hiring decisions.

Harvard Business School professor, Francesca Gino, describes hiring bias as a factor that influences us “in making decisions in favor of one person or group to the detriment of others.” When this occurs, creating the diverse culture needed to make today’s businesses succeed proves difficult.

The benefits of forming a diverse team include greater productivity, efficiency, innovation, employee happiness and increased revenue. Business leaders should analyze any conscious and unconscious bias existing within the senior leadership team, across hiring managers, and even throughout the broader organization. 

Some Guiding Principles

To keep your organization from avoiding a biased hiring process, keep in mind certain principles that can serve as a guideline and guardrail against hiring discrimination.

  • Do
    • Modify the verbiage of your job listings by consciously removing any adjectives that might resemble any gender, community or age group
    • If possible, ask candidates to take a test for an unbiased approach to judge the outcomes and compare the results clinically
    • Consciously keep aside your personal feelings by giving likeability a numerical score from the requirement perspective
  • Don’t
    • Conduct an unstructured interview. Always ensure that your interview process and questions are standardized for each level, making it turnkey to compare each candidate’s answers. If possible, keep a sample of the ideal answer handy as a reference
    • Let any demographic-based prejudice cloud your resume review. If required, take the help of software to remove those factors so you can judge the skill sets needed with a clear mind
    • Overlook the requirement to set a diversity goal. Ensure you track your progress regularly to reach the goal

Steps That Help Eliminate Hiring Process Bias

Hiring managers and recruiters need to de-bias their practices, procedures and belief system for unbiased executive hiring, helping to develop an inclusive culture. All employees deserve to feel welcome, respected and appreciated, regardless of age, gender, ethnicity, religious community or life choices. Here are some measures to adopt to eliminate bias from the hiring process:

  • Self-aware leaders – Acceptance is always the first step toward improvement. Recognize that unconscious bias is real and exists among us no matter how different or negligible. Empower your business leaders to be conscious and self-aware, identify their prejudices, and work hard to avoid bringing them into the hiring process. Accept and adapt to not being perfect
  • Eliminate age, name, gender and origin from each candidate’s resume – It can be wise to remove all personal and demographic details from the resume and analyze it based on a standard checklist of eligibility based on knowledge, experience and skill. If possible, it would be wonderful to try to know the person and their character traits instead of any metric likely to create bias
  • Create awareness and educate those in the hiring process – Creating awareness is always the first crucial step in eliminating bias. Even people in the leadership team sometimes are not aware of unconscious bias. So, educating those involved in the hiring process is a significant step. Ensure you conduct an unconscious bias test to identify any of your prejudices 
  • Explain and discuss the significance of diversity – Explain and discuss the importance of diversity with the leadership team to see where they stand regarding acceptance and unconscious bias. Conduct bias training, regular meetings and have discussions highlighting the significance of diverse backgrounds. Ensure that you remove any known bias from your interview process
  • Focus on competencies and required skills – Develop a hiring process that prioritizes job competencies and skills the job requires. Note the necessary competencies for a role so the interviewers only look for specific knowledge, skills and abilities. Then rank the candidates interviewed based on the competencies listed and facilitate a conversation based on that information
  • Set a benchmark for every role – List all the qualities and factors required for a position that will ensure repeatable success. Some decision-making factors can be soft skills required, such as clarity of thought, practical thinking, judgment ability, role awareness, problem-solving ability and decision-making. Mark role-specific competencies, behaviors and other soft skills to judge candidates
  • Categorize any “must have” qualities and stick to them – Segment the “must” and “preferred” qualities or competencies for a job and don’t stray from the classification. The “must” should not be compromised, and there should not be any exceptions. If possible, utilize multiple interviewers for an open discussion to share everyone’s views. Keeping the hiring process objective and making a data-based decision is essential. 


When your business is ready to hire diverse executive talent, SucceedSmart offers a modern executive search & recruitment platform built to protect your recruiting resources from conscious and unconscious biases, bringing equity across candidates. Not only does diversity make business sense, but it also makes common sense, and SucceedSmart is here to help. Request a demo of our executive search software for your business today.

For additional information please consider these sources:

Ready to Boost Your Executive Career?

Join SucceedSmart for executive coaching, peer support, and a lifelong career platform.

Transform your Executive Recruitment Process with SucceedSmart

Fast, Affordable, and Predictable Executive Search at your fingertips