by Rebecca Knight
Originally published: June 12, 2017
A vast body of research shows that the hiring process is biased and unfair. Unconscious racism, ageism, and sexism play a big role in whom we hire. But there are steps you can take to recognize and reduce these biases. So where should you start? And how can you help others on your team do the same?
What the Experts Say
Unconscious biases have a critical and “problematic” effect on our judgment, says Francesca Gino, professor at Harvard Business School. “They cause us to make decisions in favor of one person or group to the detriment of others.” In the workplace, this “can stymie diversity, recruiting, promotion, and retention efforts.” Left unchecked, biases can also shape a company or industry’s culture and norms, says Iris Bohnet, director of the Women and Public Policy Program at the Harvard Kennedy School and author of What Works: Gender Equality by Design. “Seeing is believing,” she explains. “If we don’t see male kindergarten teachers or female engineers we don’t naturally associate women and men with those jobs, and we apply different standards” when hiring, promoting and evaluating job performance. “Managers have to learn to de-bias their practices and procedures.” Here are some strategies.