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How to Use Bias Interrupters to Fight Discrimination in Hiring

Eliminate implicit racial bias during the hiring process by implementing simple, small changes called bias interrupters.

Posted by Ann Snook on March 28th, 2019

With fewer than five percent of Fortune 500 CEO positions held by people of color, it is clear that there is still a lot of progress to be made towards workplace diversity. This applies especially to combating racial discrimination in hiring.

Many of our business systems are broken.

Obvious racism like choosing only white candidates to move on to the second round of interviews, as well as inherent bias like automatically eliminating resumes with ethnic names still affect many of today’s workplaces. Increase the diversity of your workplace by using bias interrupters during the hiring process.

What is a Bias Interrupter?

 

bias interrupter is a small, simple change to the old way of doing things in the workplace. This can include hiring practices, salaries, promotions, work assignments, and more.

Bias interrupters are designed to address and change business systems that have made no progress towards diversity since they were established years ago.

 

If you want to learn more about eliminating bias in the workplace, take a look at this free webinar from attorney and author Amy Oppenheimer.

 

Fighting Racial Discrimination In Hiring With Bias Interrupters

 

Before you can combat bias in the workplace, you have to recognize it.

To start, keep track of the demographics of the applicant pool during every hiring process. Note how many applicants fit into under-represented groups, including people of color.

Creating metrics of this data during the entire staffing process to will show trends of racial discrimination in hiring practices at your workplace. You may not have even realized they were happening.

Once you have your metrics, apply bias interrupters to your upcoming job competitions.

Appoint team members who are trained to spot racial bias and involve them in the process every step of the way. This should stop any future racial discrimination in its tracks. Assembling a diverse pool of applicants, taking careful consideration of resume items, and changing your interviewing style will also correct bias.

Once you have applied bias interrupters to your staffing method, analyze the results against your original metrics. Did making these changes have an impact?

If nothing changed, try applying more or stronger bias interrupters. Alternately, try shifting your focus. Sometimes the problem lies in unexpected places. Keep repeating the process until you have a more racially diverse and inclusive workplace!

 

RELATED: The Ultimate Guide to Avoiding Racial Discrimination in Hiring

 

racial discrimination in hiring

What Are Some Examples of Bias Interrupters?

 

You can implement a wide variety of bias interrupters to eliminate racial discrimination in hiring at your workplace. Some examples include:

  • Limiting referral hiring
  • Sending recruiters to job fairs, conferences, and training seminars specifically designed for racial minorities in your industry
  • Highlighting people belonging to a visible minority who already work in your office on social media and in blog posts to show you are a friendly, inclusive place to work
  • Writing down important qualifications before the hiring process starts and sticking to them
  • Evaluating all resumes using the same, pre-set standards
  • Considering candidates with diverse educational backgrounds, not just favoring those from top-tier universities
  • Asking every candidate the same, pre-set interview questions that are worded without nuances that only certain groups would understand
  • Grading every candidate’s interview responses on the same scale
  • Incorporating skills tests into the hiring process
  • Specifically defining “culture fit” and making sure it is not exclusionary to people of color

 

Not every bias interrupter will apply to every position or company. The ideas above are just designed to get you started reducing racial discrimination in hiring.

 

Read more about how you can avoid bias in your workplace in this free, downloadable cheat sheet.

 

Eradicating Workplace Racism

 

With so much bias built into our business systems, even the most open staffing team may be unintentionally discriminating during their hiring processes.

Using bias interrupters like the ones described above make the hiring process more welcoming to people of color with just a few small tweaks. Try incorporating this method into your workplace and note the amazing changes that follow.


Ann Snook
Ann Snook

Marketing Writer

Ann is a marketing writer at i-Sight Software. She writes about issues related to investigations of fraud, employee misconduct, corporate security, Title IX, ethics & compliance and more.

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