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Why Manual Job Application Screening Methods Aren’t Enough To Reduce Bias

Manual job application not enough to reduce bias

Every business has a responsibility to protect its workforce against bias and this starts right at the beginning of the recruitment consideration phase. Job application screening is traditionally a manual process but is flawed with inconsistencies and time restraints that make it hard for recruiters to tackle bias.

What’s the problem?

Traditional resume screening is not consistent

Screening inconsistencies mean every applicant is not considered in the same equal way. For example, at the start of the work day, a resume may be reviewed very differently in comparison to an application reviewed at the end of the work day and working week. External (and very much normal) human factors such as tiredness and stress all contribute to the differences in how each resume is screened.

Candidates are exposed to unconscious bias

Unconscious bias occurs at the very start of the screening process. Opinions are formed when a resume is first viewed and without realising – some candidates are favoured based on an emotive decision.
As a recruiter, you may gravitate toward a candidate that has a similar background to yourself or someone who shares the same interests. Subconsciously a decision is made by a positive perception that makes humans lean towards one person over another. There are many types of unconscious bias and it can be challenging to guarantee complete removal. Here are some common types of unconscious bias in the screening process:

  • Affinity bias – (also known as similarity bias) – is choosing a candidate because they share similar professional qualities to yourself.
  • Attribution bias – the assumptions we make based on the person’s character rather than the situation itself.
  • Conformity bias – the change in opinion to conform with others. Recruiters may feel this when deciding together which candidates make a good job fit.
  • Contrast effect – this is when two things are judged in comparison to one another rather than on their own merit. A huge risk in resume screening as candidates need to be screened against the job not each other.
  • Unconscious bias plays a threat in inclusive resume screening and results in a candidate’s skills and experience being overlooked due to factors beyond their control.

It’s difficult to manage high volumes

Recruiters know all too well how difficult it can become to search through hundreds of resumes on a daily basis searching for that great candidate. When working against the clock hiring decisions can become rushed and some applicants may not receive a fair review (or one at all!).

What’s the solution?

Blind resume screening. Eliminate the unconscious bias risk that stems from traditional screening techniques with the removal of all personal candidate information. Request that candidates remove identifying factors such as their name, age and gender help to reduce bias and refocus consideration on what matters.

Time to take it one step further?

Many businesses that are looking to advance their blind screening technique make use of automation to assist in the handling of job applications. In doing so, they can fairly screen every applicant within seconds and give every candidate an equal start to their hiring journey. Screening technology undertakes all the heavy lifting so all you have to do is choose which job-matching candidates should advance to the next stage. Laying the foundations for an inclusive and diverse workforce where our differences are embraced.

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