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How To Reduce Discrimination In The Hiring And Interview Process

Harassment & Discrimination

Soft Skills

How To Reduce Discrimination In The Hiring And Interview Process

From job postings to interviews to offers of employment, there are legalities to consider when looking for the right candidates for your organization. Make your next hiring process more honest and fair by preventing discrimination of potential candidates — which is also required by law. An equitable and diverse company culture can only be achieved by making a conscious effort to hire a diverse staff, and the first step is following these best practices.

Interviewing & Hiring Laws

Finding the right candidates for a position in your organization can be an exciting process. However, hiring managers are legally obligated to find the right people without discriminating against anyone. Abstaining from discrimination in the interview process and staying in compliance with human rights laws are paramount for building a strong organization and avoiding potential fines or legal ramifications.

Some of the laws governing interviewing and hiring include the Equal Employment Opportunity Act (EEOA), which prohibits discrimination or the appearance of discrimination in the hiring process. As part of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) was established to administer and enforce civil rights laws in the workplace. Title VII of this legislation also states that it is illegal to discriminate against someone on the basis of national origin. And the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 protects people who are 40 or older from age discrimination. The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) also requires employers to notify individuals in writing if they are performing a background check.

EEOC Protected Characteristics

According to the EEOC, it is illegal to discriminate against job seekers, employees and former employees based on specific personal traits, often referred to as protected characteristics or protected classes. It is illegal to discriminate based on potential candidates’ characteristics including:

  • Race
  • Color
  • Religion
  • Sex (including pregnancy, sexual orientation, and gender identity)
  • National origin
  • Age (40 or older)
  • Disability
  • Genetic information (including family medical history)

Job Posting Characteristics

When a job opening is advertised, the rights of potential applicants begin. And if you are responsible for posting job advertisements or postings, you must do your due diligence to ensure your actions are legal and appropriate. When posting an opening for a position of employment, only include the specifics of the skills necessary to complete the job, and do not include or refer to any protected characteristics. Whether the position is posted on your company's website or through a third party, discrimination or showing a preference for any individual based on a protected characteristic is prohibited and strictly regulated.

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Hire Based on Skill and Qualifications

During the recruiting process, it is very important to avoid discussing or referring to legally protected characteristics. Just like job descriptions, job interviews and phone screens should be focused on the skills needed to complete the duties of the required role. Job seekers have the right to be accepted or rejected based upon their skills and qualifications alone, which can help your organization to find the best candidates while also building trust with a diverse customer base.

Did you know that 40% of hiring decisions are influenced by unconscious bias, according to HireVue? Examples of unconscious bias might include hiring someone because they remind you of a friend, or avoiding hiring someone because they are a different gender or ethnicity. There are a few different types of biases to be aware of (and prevent) during your next hiring process, which are addressed in EasyLlama’s Unconscious Bias training. This course can help foster an inclusive workplace by making employees more aware of their own thoughts and beliefs.

Name bias occurs when someone is judged based solely on their name, which may give unconscious hints about their race or gender. A great way to avoid this type of bias, especially during resume review, is by blocking out the name of applicants so that the hiring committee can focus purely on skills. Giving a work sample test can also be a great tool against unconscious bias as it requires recruiters to honestly critique the quality of a candidate's work rather than protected characteristics.

Avoid Small Talk

Speaking of bias, another type is called affinity bias, which is the theory that people are naturally drawn to people with similar personalities or other criteria, like age, race, gender, and more. As a best practice, we recommend sticking to a predetermined list of questions based on the necessities of the position and avoiding small talk completely during the job interview process. Providing with candidates the same standardized interview process will allow employers to focus on the factors that have a direct impact on performance.

Training for an Honest Hiring and Interviewing Process

Any individual who is involved in the recruiting process for any size organization can benefit from EasyLlama’s Interview and Hiring training. Utilizing our interactive suite of Diversity and Inclusion training courses is another great step to preventing workplace discrimination, with 100% online courses on Unconscious Bias, Microaggressions, and more. Awareness training, with a focus on disability, religion, and other protected characteristics can also help reduce discrimination in the hiring and interview process. Start your free course preview today to learn more about improving the recruiting procedures at your organization.

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