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The Ultimate Checklist to Avoid Bias in Hiring

Continually accumulating research shows that bias in recruitment exists and spills over into workplace experiences.  Racism, ageism, and sexism have been skewing hiring for eons, and breaking the mold requires acknowledgment that the issue exists and a clear strategy to combat it.


It can be hard to admit to unconscious biases. Having an unconscious bias doesn’t make you a bad person, but once the bias is pointed out, refusing to recognize and address it is deeply problematic. 


Bias in recruiting can mean passing over excellent candidates in favor of mediocre ones with whom the hiring manager or recruiter feels more comfortable. This leads to dangerous homogenization of the workplace, putting roadblocks in the way of diversity. 


Why do you want a diverse workforce? In addition to it being the moral outcome, it’s good for the bottom line: companies in the top quartile for gender diversity on executive teams can be up to 25% more likely to have above-average profitability than companies in the fourth quartile.


Unchecked biases can shape a company or industry's culture. Everyone involved in the recruitment funnel must learn to de-bias their process, and be willing to use tools developed to prevent unintentional discrimination as protection against their own unrecognized biases.

[Learn How to Avoid Unconscious Bias in Recruiting Candidates]

Here are 9 Ways to Combat Bias in Hiring

Fighting bias starts at the top, and must be a company-wide endeavor. Begin with discussing the topic internally, then explore recruitment tools that automate bias-laden processes, ensuring they help rather than hinder your diversity efforts.

Combat Bias in Hiring Way #1: Create an Organizational Conversation

Awareness training for everyone who touches the recruitment process can be key to overcoming bias in hiring. Make sure your recruiters and hiring managers understand what hiring prejudices are, how they operate, and how to avoid them.  

Combat Bias in Hiring Way #2: Adjust Your Job Descriptions

Job descriptions typically deliver the first impression of your company's culture to the application pool. Strip away overtly aggressive or masculine language that might make women feel they don’t fit the desired candidate “type”, and focus on job expectations, skills, and responsibilities over a laundry list of requirements. This can garner you up to 42% more responses to critical job listings.

Combat Bias in Hiring Way #3: Blind Your Resumes

You can literally outsmart your own biases by redacting resumes before you sit down to review them. Removing irrelevant information like the candidate’s name, gender, school they attended, and other data that could skew perception will help surface the applicant with the best skills and experience for the job.  

Combat Bias in Hiring Way #4: Digitize Your Reference Checks

Using digital reference checking tools like Crosschq 360 helps stamp out unconscious bias and gives you a clear picture of each candidate’s skills (hard and soft) as well as their ability to work with others. You’ll cut reference checking time by up to 95% and get useful information about each candidate based on pre-set questions developed by experts in the field.

avoiding bias in hiring

Combat Bias in Hiring Way #5: Standardize Your Interviews

Unstructured interviews can be terribly unpredictable for predicting job success. Standardizing the interview process minimizes bias by ensuring that potential employers are zoomed in on factors that actually impact performance. When done properly, the interview allows you to compare candidates across a level playing field, and gives you another independent data point to use in the decision-making process. 

Combat Bias in Hiring Way #6: Resist First Impressions

It’s been shown that impressions made in the first 10 seconds of an interview can impact outcomes. It can be a mistake to let first impressions guide your decision. This applies whether you felt a “click” with an applicant or assume they must be a good hire because you both graduated from the same university.

Combat Bias in Hiring Way #7: Measure Against Goals for Diversity and Inclusion

If there is only one woman in your candidate pool, there is statistically a 0% chance she’ll be hired out of the group. This makes it imperative to make your talent pool more diverse and to track that diversity throughout your hiring funnel to find out if you’re losing women via drop-off at a critical stage. Then you can try to fix whatever is happening to weed out your female candidates. The same goes for any other underrepresented group. Crosschq TalentWall™ gives you this sort of real-time insight into your recruitment process, helping you set and meet diversity goals. 

Combat Bias in Hiring Way #8: Survey Your New Hires

It’s important to keep checking in with your new hires to ensure that you aren’t just hiring diversely, but practicing inclusivity and equity in the workplace. Surveys can tell you how you’re doing with your DEIB initiatives, and give you a heads up if your diverse candidates are churning more quickly than the rest of your workforce. Crosschq Analytics can be set to run routine surveys at specific mile markers of your choosing, and also provides a variety of quality of hire reports based on new hire performance. 

Combat Bias in Hiring Way #9: Ask for Assistance

There’s a learning curve to diversifying your workforce, and it’s all right to need help. Crosschq Recruit can deliver a diverse, opt-in talent pool full of candidates that are already partially vetted and who are eager to join forward-thinking organizations. Since 86% of candidates globally say that diversity in the workplace is important to them, this can help you start making progress while you fine-tune your company's diversity policy and develop appropriate hiring strategies.

Using this checklist can help you create a diverse workforce and also set you on the path to better inclusivity, equity, and belonging in the workplace. Ready to get a better handle on DEIB? Request a Crosschq demonstration today.

Noelle Davis

by Noelle Davis

Staff Writer

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