Beyond "Unbiased Hiring": Owning Your Biases for a More Inclusive Process

Tania A. Ibarra, CPA
February 10, 2020

We hear it everywhere: implicit bias is the hiring enemy, and we must eliminate it. But Step Up facilitator Gautam Jayanthi offers a different perspective. Instead of striving for an impossible ideal, he suggests acknowledging and working with our biases for a more inclusive approach.

Beware the "Bias-Free" Trap:

Think you can simply ignore your biases? Think again! Just like ignoring hunger pangs, suppressing them leads to flawed decision-making. You might rely solely on objective tools, miss valuable nuances, or even fall into "analysis paralysis."

The Pitfalls of Overcorrection:

Remember that colleague who accidentally discriminated against a qualified applicant in his quest for "bias-free" hiring? This fear can backfire, hindering good candidates and harming diversity efforts.

Embrace Awareness, Not Elimination:

Instead of aiming for an impossible "bias vacuum," learn to recognize your biases, understand their origins, and assess their relevance to the situation. Open communication and collective reflection within the hiring team are key.

Start a Conversation, Not a Witch Hunt:

Ask yourself why a candidate resonates with you. Is it relevant to the job? Share your reasoning with your team and encourage them to do the same. Discuss your biases openly, not as accusations, but as opportunities for learning and growth.

Building a Better Future:

By owning our biases and engaging in these brave conversations, we can create a more inclusive hiring process and build a workplace culture where everyone feels valued and understood.