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How to Eliminate Gender Bias from the Recruitment Process

Gender bias is a hot topic at the moment, and rightly so, therefore we have created this quick guide to eliminate it from your recruitment process. Whether you are a recruitment agency, a head-hunters or the end client it is important to get this right. More and more businesses are openly admitting that they need to hire more women in certain business functions so they are introducing new initiatives to address this issue. For example, fast tracking females to later stages of the interview process or only opening the job positions to females for a certain period of time.

Although companies are addressing the issue of gender bias in the recruitment process, recent studies reveal that there is still a long way to go to eliminate gender bias from the recruitment process. According to the latest figures from the Women’s Engineering Society (WES), only 11% of the UK’s engineering workforce is female. Both women and men who study Engineering and Technology express similar levels of intent to work in the industry, however, 66.2% of men and 47.4% of women went on to work in engineering and technology in 2011. As we mentioned on our LinkedIn last week that, 58% of candidates who had a negative experience with a company’s recruitment process that they would not apply again in the future. Don’t allow gender bias in your recruitment process to affect your hiring.

Write Gender-Neutral Job Descriptions

We have shown that you can use some software and artificial intelligence in order to mitigate the risk of writing job descriptions more aligned to one gender (this can be found here). But if you don’t opt in to using a particular software to assist with this, it is worthwhile putting a little bit more time in to writing job descriptions and job adverts which do not deter high-quality candidates from applying. It is believed that on average men apply for a job when they meet 60% of the required skills, whereas women only apply when they believe they meet 100% of the required skills. By investing a little more time to ensure that you use gender-neutral language you may see an increase in high quality female candidates and at the end of the day, putting you in a better position to close the deal.

A study conducted by Total Jobs found a whopping 478,175 female and male biased words use throughout job adverts on average, that is six gender-coded words per advert. Invest a little more time in de-gendering the language used in your job adverts to ensure they appeal to all candidates.

Be Aware of Unconscious Bias In the Interview Process

Creating a plan and adding a structure to an interview can also mitigate the risk of unconscious bias. By adding a structure and having a series of standardised interview questions that you ask in every interview makes it easier for the interviewer to compare each candidate applying for the position. A simple, but this method will reduce the risk of your unconscious bias coming in to play.

Use A Diverse Interview Panel

Whether you are the end client hiring the candidate or a recruiter acting on behalf of the client you may be able to elect a gender diverse interview panel. This can potentially reduce the risk of unconscious bias. It is worthwhile to extend this strategy and have a mix of cultures, and age ranges as well when conducting the interview. For example, you may be the recruitment consultant in charge of the job, but you may want to ask one of your employees to also interview them in order to ensure you have a diverse interviewing panel.

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