Many of us have seen the movie Moneyball, based on the true story of the Oakland Athletics’ Major League Baseball team. The A’s outsmarted other ball clubs by recruiting players based on ballgame performance statistics instead of relying purely on their scout’s gut instincts. The A’s approach revolutionized player selection in professional sports and enabled the A’s to successfully compete against teams that had more money and more talent in their organizations. Business organizations have the same opportunity to reject old school traditions and as a result, minimize employee selection bias.
In this second and final article about minimizing employee selection bias, we’ll look at three key stages of the hiring process. By reducing bias in the interview, testing, and final selection process, organizations establish a diverse workforce, contributing to better business performance.
Minimizing Employee Selection Bias in the Interview Process
The likability factor is difficult to overcome in the interview process. Hiring managers are susceptible to hiring candidates that look like them, act like them, and talk like them. Where’s the diversity in these employee selection decisions?
Instead of performing one-on-one interviews that are susceptible to bias, 15dots recommends structured board interviews. 15dots trains its clients to involve a board of stakeholders in the interview process, including a diverse mix of male, female, black, white, Hispanic, young, old, etc. At the same time, through an expert-led and hands-on program, 15dots helps organizational leaders to establish this structured board interview process within their organizations. Stakeholders trained in the structured board interview protocol learn to become confident and effective interviewers.
To further guard against selection bias, all interviewers interview candidates without having prior knowledge of test scores and other data that might create bias. At the conclusion of every interview, through a structured, standard process, they gather and review objective and behavioral data necessary to select the right employees, instead of relying on likability or gut instinct.
Minimizing Employee Selection Bias in the Testing Process
Employment testing is another area where bias is possible. Does your organization use pre-employment tests? If so, are the tests related to the work? Are the tests gender-neutral? Some widely used mechanical tests in the manufacturing sector favor males. Therefore, these tests disproportionally reject female candidates, and many lawsuits have resulted from this.
Does your organization have cut-off scores on tests, allowing only the top scorers to advance to the next level of the hiring process? Interviewers quickly figure out that they are only seeing the candidates that “passed” the tests. Therefore, they assume the candidates must be good. Prior to conducting a structured board interview, the interview panel should not know how candidates scored on employment tests. Test results certainly play an important role in final selections, but low test scores shouldn’t automatically disqualify candidates.
Minimizing Employee Selection Bias with Final Selections
Imagine gathering all the data through the selection process only to disregard everything to select the person that you liked best. One of the 15dots’ clients did just that. The client ranked candidates from top to bottom based on their employment tests and a structured board interview. But instead of selecting all the top-scoring candidates, the HR team decided to skip some of the higher-ranking minority candidates and select a lower scoring white male candidate (the superintendent’s son).
The plant was a federal contractor and was audited by the Office of Federal Contract Compliance (OFCCP). As a result of the audit, the company was fined $750,000 and had to enter into a conciliation agreement. The company was required to hire all the higher-scoring minority candidates, and the HR manager and his assistant were both fired. This incident shows personal bias at its worst.
That’s the beauty of a consensus-based final selection process. Interviewers reach a consensus based on all available interview and test data, instead of simply averaging a candidate’s rating. Consensus involves conversations about the candidate’s responses and their ratings and an agreement about a candidate’s suitability for the role. With consensus, you get a more accurate assessment.
The Key to Establishing a Diverse Workforce
Like the Oakland A’s portrayed in the movie Moneyball, business organizations have the same opportunity to fight subjective opinions. Instead, they can rely on a proven, data-based, systematic approach to hiring that reduces bias and promotes diversity. Contact us today to learn about the 15dots® Selection Process. Also, for more information about minimizing employee selection bias, check out the 15Dots’ Quick Reference: Ways to Minimize Selection Bias.