The specter of bias remains in the workspace despite efforts to reduce it. We have all heard stories about people feeling someway about being passed on for a role they thought was their forte; be it race, religion, orientation, or even gender! A recent story about a guy with a gender-neutral name facing hiring bias has been making the rounds on social media. So it’s not that uncommon. Most discrimination starts with hiring managers / remote job reviewing resumes.
An example of this is presented by the global head of Solutions Engineering at Karat which is a platform for remotely interviewing tech candidates. Shannon Hogue states that bias is very much present in the hiring process all around the tech industry and is sadly being carried out in remote job hiring as well.
If resumes are filtered based on let’s say, the “top 10 computer schools” then that automatically starts a bias. You are potentially omitting diversity from entering into your workplace. Instead to ensure the bias is as little at play as possible try incorporating coding challenges, team interviews, apprenticeships, etc.
Focus less on zoom backgrounds and interruptions:
It is so important for hiring remote software engineers to understand that not everyone has the privilege to have the ideal “home office”. Most people have been caught off guard with the intricacies of remote work. It’s way more than just rolling out of your bed and completing tasks only to roll back in. As intense as it has been for businesses to transition to remote settings, it’s been equally daunting for employees too. If a person’s background is messy over a zoom interview that does not reflect on their work ethic or the quality of their work.
If there were interruptions during the interview, ignore them, and move on. Most people are doing their absolute best to make the most of their situations. If anything, remote work has opened the possibility for many people to be able to work. This includes women and minorities that otherwise would not have has this opportunity. President and COO at Capitol Presence, Roy Edwards, said that remote interviewing university candidates allowed them to see many groups of people that are otherwise not present. This included mostly women and minorities or people of color.
How to eliminate hiring bias:
First things first. It’s on the candidate’s end to put their best foot forward. Showcase your expertise and your underlying passion for technology. Chances are that’s all they want to see.
Most importantly, however, it’s up to the employers to eliminate bias completely and this can only be done so if proper resources are dedicated to the cause.
Acknowledge that judgments happen and try to work your way through
Instead of being embarrassed by your own biases, acknowledge them. We all make snap judgments but it’s the conscious effort to look past them that counts. Someone isn’t dressed according to your taste? Doesn’t matter. Their hair wasn’t entirely in place, does not matter. It’s one thing if the candidate shows up disheveled but to judge on such small things only adds to the bias
Incorporate tests, coding challenges, sample projects, etc.
Instead of solely basing your judgment on the candidate’s educational background or even regional background, it’s always a good idea to judge their skills.
A genius way to do this is via coding challenges. It could be anything from debugging a code to drawing out a roadmap when tackling a problem
Set an intention for the interview – and stick to it!
When vetting candidates it’s important to keep in check your intention behind the interview. Ask questions relevant to the position they have applied for. Use this time to judge them on skills that matter; be it technical or soft skills. Any other judgments crossing your mind should be tossed aside.
In conclusion, for bias to occur during the hiring process is natural. It’s important for businesses to try and achieve diversity overall so that it’s eliminated. Initiate programs that address preconceptions and biases, set up quality assurance by recording interviews and going over them to see where the process can be improved.
As mentioned earlier, remote hiring can and cannot make this bias worse. It depends entirely on how we decide to address this.