Tips on running a bias-free, early-talent hiring process

Bias-free, early-talent hiring

The generation of early-talent is comprised mostly of Gen Z (those born after 1996). This group comprises students who are recent graduates or about to graduate. They are known to be entrepreneurial, tech-savvy, and are true digital natives. 

With the unemployment rate hitting the lowest of lows and several Baby Boomers (those born between 1946 and 1964) entering retirement, the need to hire early-talent is more significant than ever. The early-talent you recruit will help define your company culture for years to come. Therefore, it is important to prioritize a diverse pool of candidates with the right skill sets throughout your hiring process. To effectively engage with this sought-after group of job-seekers and run a bias-free hiring process, organizations need to evolve their recruitment methods to be more authentic, digital, and proactive. 

What bias means in recruitment

As humans, we are bound to make quick decisions. Every day we make a multitude of choices: your most recent one was whether to read this article or not. Similarly, in the hiring process, bias happens when you prefer one candidate over another based solely on first impressions. Or, be inclined toward a candidate who seems similar to you. Sometimes, a candidate’s name, pictures on their resume, or hometown could influence your opinion more than you think. In short, bias (conscious or unconscious) affects your decision—whether positively or negatively, using criteria irrelevant to the job.

How to avoid bias in early-talent hiring? 

Does your company have a program for hiring early-talent as interns, co-ops, and for entry-level roles? If yes, great! However, it may be wise to revisit your hiring strategy. That’s because Gen Z represents the first generation of true digital natives. This generation is equipped with the most in-demand skills, such as leadership, communication, problem-solving, data analysis, and tech. Hence, it would be best if you had a solid understanding of the profile of this generation and how to recruit them while cutting from the entire process.

Read more on the 7 Types of hiring bias and how to avoid them. 

Here are 3 proven ways to avoid bias in early-talent recruitment.

Use a pre-employment assessment tool 

Gen Z were the first to be born into a completely digital world. They are extremely tech-savvy because they grew up immersed in a digital culture. 

Hence, you must speak their language and digitize your hiring process, leaving no room for bias. Consider using coding assessment tools or recruitment software solutions. These tools have many benefits that can help you eliminate bias from the interview process:

  1. First of all, these tools will allow you to conduct structured interviews. You will also be able to use evaluation parameters or scorecards to test candidates on the go. Conducting structured interviews and having pre-defined evaluation parameters are excellent ways to interview candidates in an unbiased and standardized manner. Asking a set of questions in a structured interview format helps the hiring team collect useful information from each interviewee that they can use to make informed hiring decisions and compare with other candidates in the funnel.
  2. These tools foster collaboration between two or more recruiters and hiring managers. Hence, every hiring decision is a team effort, which helps you avoid recruitment bias. 
  3. These tools hide all personally identifiable information of candidates such as gender, name, email address, etc. Hence, the chances of unconscious bias are reduced drastically. 

Rework your job descriptions

It’s no surprise that Gen Z uses mobile phones with lightning dexterity—as if the features of their phones and their minds were one and the same. But that also means that this generation is quick to swipe left at lackluster or poor job descriptions. Hence, employers and recruiters need to be on their toes.

Gen Z doesn’t want to be gender-stereotyped and is acutely aware of bias. According to a New York Times poll, this generation believes that they can change their sexual preferences and gender identities more than any other generation.

In early-talent hiring job descriptions play an important role as they provide the first impression of a company’s culture. Look at the language in your tech job descriptions. Chances are, the wording is more biased toward one gender than you realize. Always avoid pronouns and potentially gender-charged terms in your job-descriptions. The idea is to make them gender-fluid. 

Furthermore, you can emphasize both in your job descriptions and in your company brand that your company is committed to inclusion and diversity. This results in a richer, expanded candidate pool of Gen Z. 

Shift your focus from pedigree to potential

Every student dreams of getting into one of the Ivy League universities around the world. However, the competition for getting into elite colleges seems to be getting more and more intense. According to research, elite colleges and universities enroll fewer than 6 percent of U.S. college students. 

This brings us to a fundamental question: what should be more critical to an organization when hiring early-talent – the educational pedigree or potential of candidates? When organizations begin searching for early-talent, elite universities are likely to be the first to attract their attention. However, by doing so, they are limiting their candidate pool.  

Google helped start this trend when they spoke of hiring for “Intellectual Humanity” and a push toward a focus on skills more than credentials. We are not saying that you should ditch the Ivy League cohort altogether. But it is important to remember that students from the lesser privileged section of the society can have the required skills that you’re looking for even without going to an Ivy League school. By shifting your focus from pedigree to potential, you will have a clear insight into a candidates’ performance and problem-solving skills in a real-world scenario. This method has proven to be accurate, delivering actionable results, and leaving no room for bias whatsoever.

Assess a candidate’s potential with accurate coding assessments

Gen Z are on their way and it’s time to get ready for them…

Gen Z are hot on their heels in the job market today, and now is the time to get ready for them. This generation is known for being open-minded and deeply invested in diversity and inclusivity. A study found that 70% of this generation strongly believes that public spaces should provide gender-neutral bathrooms, compared to 57% of Millennials. 

What does this mean for you? You must shine a spotlight on your diversity and inclusion efforts by eliminating bias from the recruitment process!

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