Why Gender Biases Occur During Interviews and How to Curtail their Influence
When someone hears the word bias, it is quite possible that their immediate reaction will be negative; that is, people often associate the use of this term to describe some type of prejudice, discrimination, or injustice against a person, a group, or a particular choice among a diversity of options. And although it may be part of their psychology for many people to think negatively first, it is important to keep in mind that biases can also have a positive slant (pun intended), as in displaying favouritism or the preference for another person, party, or option.
Virtually every person demonstrates some degree of bias on a daily basis; those who feel they do not are essentially deluding themselves. People may favour one sports team but despise another, support one political party while disparaging another, or rave about one type of cuisine yet condemn another; so yes, biases do exist, although for the most part, they are rather benign when more significant matters of life are taken into consideration.
However, one aspect of life in which the demonstration of bias is perhaps more malicious than benign is the application of gender biases in the business world, particularly during interviews with potential new hires. The preferential selection or rejection of candidates on the basis of gender is a more frequent occurrence than one might like to believe, and whereas any biases could be subconscious or unintentional in nature, they will negatively affect such elements as equal opportunity, diversity, and even the skill set of a company.
Gender biases that can occur during job interviews are often precipitated by suppositions about a candidate’s skills/ability, work attendance, overall performance, and/or potential for eventual advancement based on their gender. The underlying influences driving such assumptions, hence swaying hiring decisions one way or the other, may include concerns with respect to:
- Physical attractiveness
- Potential for maternity leave
- Current parental responsibilities
- Capacity to control/manage emotions
- Suitability for a particular type of role/job
- Abilities based on ethnic or racial background
- Leadership capabilities (making tough decisions)
- Interviewer affinity for their self-image or career path
In addition to the prejudicial aspect of gender biases during interviews, endorsing such a practice, even on an involuntary basis, can have a detrimental effect on overall company performance; in other words, the company may be dismissing the potential contributions of a highly capable/qualified candidate because of their gender.
To aid in discouraging such circumstances, the consultants at Winters Technical Staffing, a leading recruitment agency in Toronto for 45 years, recommend that interviewers and hiring managers consider the following as part of their overall recruiting activities:
- Set diversity goals for the company
- Establish specific performance criteria
- Create job postings with neutral language
- Choose interview panels that reflect diversity
- Use a standardized interviewing process for all jobs
- Develop/follow structured interview questions/guides
- Focus on business needs rather than personal interests
- Create personas of employees that exhibit favoured attributes
- Remove names from resumes before distributing to interviewers
- Collect post-interview notes and recommendations independently
For organizations that may have concerns about gender biases playing a role during their candidate interviews and/or those looking for guidance on how to integrate any of these suggestions to better support a culture of diversity, consulting with a representative at a reputable recruitment agency like Winters Technical Staffing would be a viable option.
Experts in Alleviating the Adverse Effects of Gender Biases During Interviews
A professional recruiting agency such as Winters Technical Staffing can provide the levels experience and expertise needed through each phase of the hiring process, including the identification, screening, interviewing, and background investigation of candidates, to aid employers in making good decisions when staffing needs materialize.
The proficiency of the Winters Technical Staffing consultants extends to assuring that all candidates are recruited and recommended based on their merit and qualifications rather than on subjective criteria and, in particular, gender biases. The services available from Winters Technical Staffing in this regard would include:
- Preparation of impartial job postings
- Establishing appropriate job descriptions
- Writing detailed guides to use during interviews
- Developing behavioural-based interview questions
- Standardizing interviewing and feedback processes
- Performing thorough reference and background checks
For more than four decades, Winters Technical Staffing has been successfully supporting Greater Toronto Area employers in addressing their recruiting and hiring needs; when requested or required, this assistance can address matters related to the strengthening of corporate diversity or the removal of gender biases during candidate interviews.
To obtain additional information on the support and services provided by the recruitment specialists from Winters Technical Staffing, visit https://www.winterstaffing.com/services/
Contact Winters Today
Gender biases during interviews can have an unfavourable impact on candidate selection and on corporate diversity. To assist in alleviating such biases from your hiring process, call the recruitment specialists at Winters Technical Staffing at 416-495-7422 today or contact us to book a no-obligation discussion with one of our experienced consultants.