We humans are creatures of habit. We tend to enjoy things that are familiar to us, and gravitate towards what we already know when making decisions. Our brains are hardwired to think a certain way based on past experiences, and this can sometimes lead to the formation of unconscious biases.

Unfortunately, these types of biases appear in the corporate world as well, and one such example is gender discrimination during the hiring process.

Today, according to various studies, we know that many companies are more likely to hire a male candidate versus a female with similar qualifications. Perhaps males are more likely to boast about their skills and expertise during an interview. On the other hand, most women are likely to be more modest during an interview, which could hurt their chances if an employer does not think they are confident.

There are many reasons why gender-biased hiring is still an issue in today’s corporate world. Let’s discuss a few ways to approach this issue and level the playing field.

Remove Names

Scientific American says that you can stop gender bias in the recruitment process by eliminating things like names and gender from the job application. Without this information, it’s impossible for a recruiter to separate the male and female applicants.

Instead, by assigning each candidate a number, you remove the possibility of discrimination in the initial rounds and ensure that more women get through to the interview stage.

Make it a Business Issue

Instead of treating gender-bias as a women’s rights issue, think of it as a business issue, and direct the right resources into solving this problem.

If your hiring managers choose to hire men over highly qualified women, you are losing out on valuable assets who will help your business grow.

Even when men and women possess equal qualifications, it’s essential that the interviewers give them both a fair chance. By hiring an equal number of men and women, you are improving the diversity of your firm. Bringing in talented people from both genders will add new perspectives to your company, and diversifying your teams will enhance their creativity.

Educate the Hiring Team

Companies often assume that women apply for jobs the same way that men do. But did you know that the wording of your job description could inadvertently be turning away female applicants? Women are less likely to apply when they see terms like ‘aggressive’ and ‘assertive’, as these tend to be associated with masculinity. Women are also less likely to flaunt their achievements during an interview, as opposed to most men, who like to talk about their qualifications.

Your interview team must learn to gauge a woman’s capabilities while allowing her to speak freely at the interview. To help your team make the right decision, provide training that will teach them to handle different candidates from both genders.

Do Bias Testing

Gender bias slips into organizational processes primarily because it’s often hidden in the mind’s subconscious. People aren’t always aware when they make decisions based on preconceived notions.

Just like your mind can learn to form negative biases regarding certain aspects of life, it can also unlearn these and instill positive thoughts in their place.

If you want your interviewers to stop being gender-biased, you need to first make them aware of their biases. Tests such as the Harvard Implicit Test can help people discover the attitudes and beliefs that shape their own decisions.

Once your employees and interviewers are aware of their existing unconscious bias, they can work towards making changes.

Gender bias can exist at all levels of an organization, and needs to be eliminated for a company to harness the potential of talented female employees and be truly diverse. Women bring different perspectives to the table and can help a firm grow successfully. Businesses would do well to invest the time, effort, and money into eliminating unconscious gender biases and creating an equal playing field for both genders in the workplace, which will lead to more growth and success.

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