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Strategies for Addressing Unconscious Bias

Our attitudes and behavior toward other people can be influenced as much by our instinctive feelings as by our rational thought processes. That means there is a direct link between our unconscious thinking and our actions and behavior. It is important to be aware of the following strategies for addressing this unconscious bias.

Understand that unconscious bias exists

Firstly, it is important firstly to be aware that unconscious bias exists and that it can impact the decisions we make. Recognize that we all have a frame of reference that creates potential for bias and work to understand yours. Knowing your drivers and why you do things will help you to counteract any bias.

Develop a structured selection process

Making sure you have a structured and robust selection process in place will minimize the opportunities for unconscious bias to impact decision making. A structured process should include a carefully drafted job description with clearly defined qualifications and competencies, including required experience. Clearly defined, measurable interview criteria will allow you and the hiring team to objectively match candidates to a set of specifications.

Follow an objective selection process

Each candidate should go through a structured selection process that includes a number of different individuals from diverse backgrounds. The same individuals should interview each candidate and ask the same questions of each candidate. Having a process that records each phone screen and interview ensures the skills and competencies of each candidate are captured in a fair and consistent manner. Evaluate candidates in a similar manner and focus on outcome rather than style. While each interviewer should take detailed notes during an interview, he or she shouldn't share opinions with others until the end of the process to avoid influencing the overall assessment of the candidates.