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How to Eliminate Gender Bias While Hiring

How to Eliminate Gender Bias While HiringYou might consider yourself a fair-minded employer, and beyond the inherent biases that place female job applicants at a disadvantage compared to male applicants. However, very often, managers may not be able to completely prevent bias from creeping in. According to one study that was published in Harvard Business Review, bias can creep into the hiring process, even though managers may believe that they will make their decisions based on meritocracy.

In the Harvard Business Review survey, managers were asked to recruit people to run mathematical tasks.  They were assigned a group of males and females, equal in number and possessing equivalent skills.

The researchers found that male and female managers were actually twice as likely to recruit males, based on their applications. When they were interviewed however, the male candidates actually inflated their abilities, while female candidates downplayed their abilities. These are fairly common behaviors that an average manager should watch out for while interviewing, but in the study, the recruiting managers failed to compensate for these differences in the genders, and were still twice as likely to choose the male applicants.

Even when the managers were provided with information that the females were just as capable as males, they still preferred the males. Overall, the males were 1.5 times as likely to be hired for the position, compared to females. In many cases, under-qualified males were actually preferred over the more capable females.

Avoid such flawed recruitment practices in your workplace.  Discuss with your managers the different behaviors and characteristics displayed by male and female candidates during the recruitment process. Women often downplay their own abilities because they believe that such practices will be viewed negatively by the managers. Managers must be trained to gauge such behaviors, and must be able to effectively and appropriately perceive such actions. For instance, males may be genetically wired to inflate their skills. That doesn’t necessarily make the male applicant much better than a female.

You may want to take a closer and harder look at the hiring system in your workplace. Unfortunately, in many businesses, hiring discrimination is rampant, and those biases run very deep. In other words, this may be a systemic problem that you need to root out.  If your managers currently believe that an applicant who aggressively promotes himself is the best choice (usually, these applicants are male), then you must take steps to change that defective mindset.

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