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Is unconscious bias training really worth it?

14th July 2021 | 0 Comments

Recruitment TrendsTalos ATS 3 MIN READ

The past year has seen employers across all sectors promoting diversity, inclusion, and equity in their workforce. This has led to somewhat of a ‘boom’ for unconscious bias training, with HR professionals everywhere seeking to bring equity to their hiring strategy. 

Here we run through the benefits and drawbacks of unconscious bias training, and explore the possible alternatives:

What is unconscious bias training?

Unconscious bias training aims to reduce the risk of individual bias in companies’ hiring processes. This is when unconscious prejudice affects recruiters’ preferences when selecting candidates for a role. Eliminating this bias promotes equity and inclusion in a company’s workforce.

Eliminating unconscious bias & promoting equity

A recruiter may hold an unconscious bias towards almost any attribute – be this gender, ethnicity, age, or even accent. This hinders a company’s aims to achieve a diversely-talented workforce, meaning candidates with disfavoured attributes are less likely to get the job.

Does unconscious bias training really work?

Unconscious bias training comes with mixed results. Before you opt for in-depth training for your HR team, it’s worth considering the pros and cons, as well as the more straightforward alternatives.

Advantages of unconscious bias training

Unconscious bias training can be a positive way to promote equity in your hiring process. Here are some of its advantages:

  • Accessible for all employers and HR professionals
  • Led by professionals in Diversity & Inclusion practices 
  • An effective first step to promoting hiring equity

Drawbacks of unconscious bias training

While unconscious bias training can be a positive first step towards inclusive hiring, it does have a few drawbacks:

  • Theory doesn’t always prove effective in practice
  • May lead to ‘positive discrimination’ if handled incorrectly
  • Targets the effect of the prejudice, not the source
  • Can be costly and time-consuming for employers

Want to see where your hiring process could better address Diversity & Inclusion issues? Book a free D&I review with our team today

What are the alternatives to unconscious bias training?

There are some effective alternatives to unconscious bias training, helping more employers achieve equity in their hiring strategy. These include:

Anonymised hiring tactics

Anonymised hiring is a powerful way to promote Diversity & Inclusion in your recruitment process. This involves removing information, such as names, gender, location, and age, from candidate records – reducing the risk of bias towards these attributes. 

Recruitment software has made it easier than ever to implement anonymised hiring tactics. Talos lets you hide unnecessary information from candidate profiles, promoting fair, unbiased recruitment practices. 

Include more decision-makers in your hiring process

The risk of unconscious bias can be effectively reduced by including more key decision-makers in candidate selection. More perspectives means limited influence of individual recruiter bias – promoting fair, data-driven hiring choices.

Video screening/interviewing allows you to record sessions with individual candidates, running these past a greater number of decision-makers. This can be more effective than hosting interviews with one or two hiring managers, which increases the risk of unconscious bias.

Optimise job advertising for Diversity & Inclusion

Simple mistakes in your advertising copy can thwart your ability to attract a diverse range of talent. Ensure your job ads do not contain any ‘exclusive language’, such as ‘waitress’, ‘repairman’, ‘graduate’, or ‘mature’. 

Using terms like these alienates otherwise valuable candidates, limiting the diversity of your job applicants. While you may wish to attract candidates of a certain experience/skill-level, it’s better to use ‘killer questions’ and keyword filtering to identify suitable applicants.

A better way to promote Diversity & Inclusion: Talos hiring suite

Talos is an all-in-one recruitment tool, making it easier to attract, hire, and retain a diverse range of talent in your workforce. 

The platform facilitates anonymised hiring – allowing you to hide information on candidate profiles that may influence unconscious bias. 

The video screening/interview suite within talos enables you to include more key decision-makers in candidate selection. This reduces the risk of individual bias, promoting equity across your hiring processes.

Talos includes:

  • Next-generation Applicant Tracking System
  • Anonymised hiring tools to eliminate unconscious bias
  • Video screening/interview suite for on-demand selection
  • Recruitment advertising & multi-platform job posting
  • Automated progression of your strongest applicants
  • Automatic SMS/Email updates for candidates
  • Candidate keyword filtering for skill-matching
  • Employee onboarding tools and resources

Discover an easier way to attract & hire a more diverse workforce:

Beck Shillito

Beck is here to bring you the latest business tech news, hiring tips, and exciting updates from Talos360.

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