23 February 2021

This is how job interviews can actually help you remove bias


Job interviews can be just like first dates – first impressions count, the outcomes are unpredictable, and sometimes our unconscious bias gets in the way of us making the right decisions. Same as when we go on a first date, we also unconsciously engage in impression management during our job interviews. 

In this blog, I will share how to eliminate bias from your job interview process.



First impressions

Now ask yourself, have you ever pre-planned answers for the potential questions you’ll be asked during a job interview to come across as your best self? That is precisely what impression management means. That’s not where it ends though – in the hiring process, unconscious bias happens when an opinion about a candidate is formed based solely on this first impression.

We are all just actors trying to control and manage our public image, and of course we want to show our best side and highlight our best qualities. And there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. To be frank, it is a very human thing to do! Engaging in impression management that can be either a conscious or a subconscious process, allows us to feel like we are in control of the social situation we are placed in.

Now, why am I telling you all this? In the early hiring stages, a candidate’s picture or even something as simple as their name can influence your opinion more than you think. We tend to make assumptions based on what we know and what we think we know. The problem occurs when we begin making hiring decisions based on these personal assumptions. This is called the interviewer bias – this makes the hiring process not only discriminatory and unfair, but also results in poor hiring decisions and increasingly high turnover rates. 

First impressions, same as many hiring decisions, are made within the first five to ten minutes,  and thus, are often influenced by bias. You might be left wondering – what are the possible solutions to this? 


How to conduct interviews in such way that it actually removes bias

If first impressions can be misleading, how is it even possible for job interviews to remove bias from the hiring process? If you want to eliminate bias by making smart use of the interview process, the interview process should provide you with an opportunity. An opportunity that will allow you to challenge your first impressions about candidates with the aim of not letting first impressions get in the way of making the right hiring decisions.

P.S. Check out our blog about assessments and how change the position of assessments in your hiring funnel help you create a bias-free first impression right away, even before the interview process starts! 

In this blog, I will tell you about how to debias your interview process by:

  • Standardizing your interview process
  • Using a diverse interview panel
  • Preparing interview scorecards


Step 1. Standardize the interview process to remove personal bias

So what do I mean when I say you should standardize your interview process? I mean that the interview process should have the same structure for each and every candidate. If the interviews are unstructured, your final decision is more likely to be impacted by personal bias. 

Structured format of interviews will make it easier to avoid bias because every interview is much easier to evaluate objectively. Try to make these questions open-ended – these are better measures of competency and also are harder to evaluate subjectively as they do not have one right answer. This will allow you to focus on factors that have a direct impact on the candidates performance. 


Step 2. Two is better than one when trying to remove inherent bias

I’m sure you have heard the saying “Two heads are better than one”?

As intimidating as such an option may sound to the candidate, having a diverse interview panel or simply having two company representatives doing the interviews, can really help to reduce inherent bias. There are a few reasons as to why this is better than one-on-one interviews:

If there is more than one interviewer, then the chances of the interviewer going down a path of asking questions that will confirm their personal bias is minimized. Thus, reducing the impact of potentially wrong first impressions. Let’s say the candidate and you have a shared interest in photography, you are likely to make a judgement that this candidate will be a better fit than someone else, just purely based on the fact that you have something in common. 

Moreover,  a diverse interview panel ensures that each interviewer will observe different aspects of the candidate’s skills and character. One interviewer might notice a certain aspect of the candidate more vividly than another interviewer. 

Lastly, panel interviews allow for the hiring decisions to be made more collectively – all the interviewers can discuss their impressions about the candidates and voice any possible concerns. Meaning that the overall assessment of the candidate will be more thorough, objective and not influenced by bias.


Step 3. Bring out the scorecards!

Have you ever heard of scorecards? They are used by many recruiters as means of grading candidates. 

Let me briefly explain to you what I mean when I say “interview scorecard”. Think of it as sort of a spreadsheet – sounds a bit boring, but gives you a really clear picture of all valuable information. In general, interview scorecards consist of four columns:

interview scorecard example

An interview scorecard, as well as the categories listed within it will differ based on every different position you are hiring for. Using scorecards helps in the process of making comparisons amongst potential candidates. How? 

Interview scorecards that are made with clear scoring criteria is a highly effective manner in which to reduce the unconscious bias that can occur during the interviewing process and allow to identify which candidate is best-fit for the position based on how well they scored within the scorecard. It is important though, if and when using interview scorecards, to note down the score immediately while the memories in your mind are still fresh.


How Equalture helps remove the bias

Biased judgements often also occur throughout the very first stages of the hiring process – reviewing candidate applications. If you really want to make sure that your hiring decisions are entirely unbiased, integrate neuroscientific games and data-based analytics provided by Equalture into your hiring funnel. 

Equalture is here to help you in two stages:

  1. Before the interview. By offering a unique gamified approach to the job application, we can provide you  with candidate profiles that are entirely data-backed and contain insightful information about their cognitive skills and personality traits. This way you can avoid getting  a misleading first impression about your candidates.
  2. During the interview process. We provide you with interview guides that are based on the results your candidates received in the neuroscientific games. This will not only save you precious time, but also ensure that the interview process is more objective.


To conclude

Bias is inherently human nature, yet there are a few things you can do to remove the bias when it comes to the hiring process. By following the tips outlined in this blogpost, the interview process within your hiring funnel can actually help eliminate bias from your hiring process entirely.

Are you ready to begin the journey to making your hiring process unbiased? We are more than happy to help you and invite you to board our rocketship with the destination: the world of unbiased hiring!

Cheers, Anete