Reducing Implicit Bias in Hiring

Becoming more bias literate addresses the cultural aspects of implicit bias. The next step is to pair our increasing bias literacy with evidence-based gender-neutral hiring practicesin order to affect structural change. The Case Study on symphonies highlights one method for restructuring recruitment and hiring practices. Numerous studies have contributed to the growing body of evidence-based practices and tools.

Evidence-Based Recommendations for Search Committees on Gender-Neutral Hiring Practices

  • Use gender-neutral terms in the job description: chairperson, the successful candidate, etc.

  • Work hard to ensure women are at least 25% of the applicant pool.

  • Search committee members should commit to a specific set of evaluation criteria and weight these criteria before seeing any CVs or other applicant materials

  • Use an inclusion rather than exclusion selection strategy in reviewing CVs and deciding which candidates will come for interviews. Inclusion strategies determine who meets the criteria rather than who does not.

  • Create a process that allows applicants to provide individual evidence of job-relevant competency, such as relevant education or training, scholastic standing, awards, or skill demonstrations.

  • Use structured rather than unstructured interviews in which each committee member is assigned the same 1-2 questions to ask every interviewee.

  • Follow the guidelines for Questions to Avoid during interviews

  • Design and provide equity directives and anti-bias training so that search committee members do not feel coerced during the evaluation.

  • Train search committee members on common hiring biases and group problem solving for overcoming such biases. Review the Becoming Bias Literate module on this portal

Finally, use the Faculty Search Committee Tools available on this portal.

[Read the article: Carol Isaac, Barbara Lee, and Molly Carnes. “Interventions that Affect Gender Bias in Hiring: a Systematic Review. In Academic Medicine 84:10 October 2009 p 1440-1446]