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T-Cast: How to Deal With Unconscious Bias in Attracting Talent
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August 10, 2016
Quote of the day…Yes, it’s a long one!
 
"Unconscious bias influences our lives in exactly the same manner as that undercurrent that took me out so far that day. When undercurrents aid us … we are invariably unconscious of them. We never credit the undercurrent for carrying us so swiftly; we credit ourselves, our talents, our skills. I was completely sure that it was my swimming ability that was carrying me out so swiftly that day. It did not matter that I knew in my heart that I was a very average swimmer, it did not matter that I knew that I should have worn a life jacket and flippers. On the way out, the idea of humility never occurred to me. It was only at the moment I turned back, when I had to go against the current, that I even realized the current existed." Author: Shankar Vedantam
 

T-Cast



Author: Ahmed Mohammed
Director Talent Acquisition

How bias affects us:
 
Our bias affects us and our decision-making processes in a number of different ways:
  • Perception – how we see people and perceive reality.
  • Attitude – how we react towards certain people.
  • Behaviors – how receptive/friendly we are towards certain people.
  • Attention – which aspects of a person we pay most attention to.
  • Listening – how much we actively listen to what certain people say.
  • Micro-affirmations – how much or how little we comfort certain people in certain situations.
  • Microaggression – how a subtle but offensive comment or action directed at a minority or other non-dominant group, often unintentional or unconsciously reinforces a stereotype.
 
Recognizing and addressing unconscious bias in the recruitment process is one of the biggest issues HR, Recruiting professionals, and Hiring Managers face. Dealing with it can be difficult, especially in large organizations like Dartmouth, but it’s certainly not something that is impossible.
 
Whether we are aware of it or not, each and every one of these things listed above will affect who we select for interview, how we interview them, who we hire and our reasons for hiring them. So how can we deal with bias and try to limit its effect on our decision-making during the recruitment process?
 
Well, one of the best ways to look at your bias is to use what’s known as the Harvard Implicit Association test – an online assessment you can take for free to discover your unconscious bias. Take the tests, and find out how much or how little bias you have towards different members of society. By discovering your unconscious bias you’ll develop an awareness of them and open yourself up to change.
 
Once we acknowledge our bias we can start to develop and use them to make sure we’re treating everyone fairly. It’s important to remember that in many cases, most bias stereotypes do not come from a place of bad intentions. Bias is something learned over many years and compounded as we progress through life. We just need to acknowledge their existence and how they affect what we do as professionals, then actively work on ways to eliminate them from the recruitment and other decision making processes.
 
One of the first thing to do is to get familiar with unknown experiences, cultures, and people. We have to evaluate closely our recruiting practices and prevent hidden biases.
 
Some actions you can take to reduce bias:
 
  • Get involved in any diversity program run by Dartmouth or other organizations.
  • Reinforce positive images. Use images of more diverse groups of people on your department’s website and any public profiles (particularly those related to recruitment).
  • Take a look at your department and see if you can spot any bias patterns that need to be addressed.
  • Lead by example. If you raise the awareness of your own bias, others will follow suit.
  • Be aware of your micro-affirmations and aggressions when interviewing candidates. Be mindful to treat every candidate with the same level of friendliness and respect.
  • Focus on fair treatment and respect of all candidates.
  • Educate yourself and participate in workshops such as emotional intelligence trainings to raise your self-awareness.
 
Why is it important for Dartmouth hiring authorities to reduce or eliminate biases from our recruitment process? While there is an obvious affirmative action and equal employment opportunity requirement, more importantly, it is the opportunity for us to increase diversity and inclusion.
 
As always, for additional information, ideas
and tips, your talent acquisition consultants can help. Feel free to reach out to us anytime…and almost anywhere.
 
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