Tackling Unconscious Bias in Recruitment

As a leading UK Procurement recruitment agency, Diversity and Inclusion is a key focus for all of us here at Procurement Heads. Read on to learn more about unconscious biases in recruitment and how our Procurement Recruitment Consultants ensure Diversity and Inclusion is always front and centre of our talent acquisition strategy.

An unconscious bias is when we make a judgment about someone based on our experiences, thought patterns, and assumptions. We’re not always aware of it, but unconscious biases exist in all sectors, including the recruitment process.

In recruitment, an unconscious bias may be an opinion formed about a candidate based on a first impression or a limited set of information such as their name or where they’re from. For hiring managers, unconscious biases can influence their decisions positively or negatively, using criteria that are irrelevant to the job role. This can cause biased hiring decisions and a less diverse workforce, which can hinder productivity and damage your work culture.

Unconscious biases such as racism, ageism, and sexism can significantly hinder the hiring process, not only in Procurement jobs, but across all industries. The first step to reducing these biases and fostering a diverse and inclusive team is being aware of the role an unconscious bias can play in the hiring process. Building awareness of these biases can help mitigate their impact, resulting in a fairer and more effective hiring process.

Identifying the Unconscious Bias

To identify these potential biases, it’s important to break down the recruitment journey and look at each step. What does your candidate journey look like? Is it accessible? Are there any parts of the journey that might cause a candidate to drop out? What does your company look like from an outside perspective?

After considering these questions, you’ll need to ensure your recruitment journey is standardised and the process is clear to everyone involved, including the candidate. You can do this by providing candidates with clear expectations, timelines, and communicating clearly throughout the process.

Next, take a look at your job adverts and where you are sharing them. To engage top talent, think about where you are most likely to reach them. If you’re not seeing a diverse range of applicants, your job adverts may not be reaching the right people. Consider those candidates who may have non-traditional career paths or experiences that can bring unique perspectives to your team. Try sharing your vacancies on different platforms to engage these audiences and create new candidate sources.

Within the job advert, make sure to use inclusive language to attract a diverse pool of candidates. Ensure the role requirements and key responsibilities are clear, specific, and behaviour-based. You can also use the job advert to highlight specific benefits and policies available, as well as specific work or projects your company has delivered to demonstrate its commitment to Diversity and Inclusion.

Once you’ve reached the interview stage of the recruitment journey, you’ll need to make sure your team of interviewers is properly prepared. Take the time to train interviewers to help them fairly assess candidates based on job-related competencies and skills rather than ‘persona’ biases. It’s also important to include a diverse interview panel to provide multiple perspectives during candidate evaluations.

How can Procurement Heads help you to run a diverse and inclusive recruitment campaign?

With an extensive network of over 80,000 procurement professionals and a dedicated team of experienced procurement recruitment experts, Procurement Heads can help you meet your specific hiring requirements. As Procurement Recruitment Consultants, we demonstrate our commitment to diversity and inclusion throughout the hiring process…

As consultants, we use blind shortlists & CVs to present candidates that are least likely to demonstrate signs of age, disability, gender, marriage and civil status, pregnancy or maternity, race, religion or belief, sex and sexual orientation. In addition, we can also focus on education and qualification status to help you find the right talent for your Procurement jobs.

We also use recorded interviews to pre-screen our candidates. For example, in cases where candidates may be exposed to the risk of accent bias, our team can pre-screen candidates with a short video recording sent to the hiring manager before taking them to a formal interview. This may strengthen the opportunity for the candidate to present themselves beyond their CV and further demonstrate their communication skills and body language.

As a business we’re committed to equal opportunities, we’ve signed the Race Fairness Commitment Pledge which ensures fairness at work for people of all ethnic backgrounds and the Change the Race Ratio, which aims to accelerate racial diversity in business.

Our Procurement Recruitment Consultants will work closely with you to ‘flex’ the spec. This involves challenging the narrative within the job specification, which may suggest a bias towards an individual or a group of prospective candidates. This may include any suggestive words such as ‘young’ or ’dynamic’ which may indicate a person’s stage of their career.

Whatever your recruitment goals may be, focusing on D&I within your talent acquisition strategy will ensure a broader talent pool and better access to diverse talent.

To learn more about Diversity and Inclusion in the recruitment process, get in touch.

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