Fair and objective recruitment delivers tangible business benefits like higher completion and acceptance rates, employee retention and productivity.
Over the years, I’ve spoken with a lot of recruiters — clients, prospects and partners working for organisations of all shapes and sizes across nearly every industry and major global market. I’ve found that while the vast majority of recruiters recognise the importance of objectivity in the hiring process, many struggle to implement this effectively.
A Question of Perception
Most recruitment professionals think about hiring objectively from an organisational perspective, biased decision-making can skew results, meaning that you end up with wrong-fit hires, employee churn and ultimately, diminished productivity and revenue. Of course, this is all true, but it’s only one half of the equation.
As it turns out, a candidate’s perception that the recruitment process will be fair and objective has a direct impact on its overall efficiency and ROI.
A seminal report published in Personnel Psychology explains that the average job applicant is well-attuned to issues of “procedural justice” throughout the recruitment and hiring process.
The relevance of each element of the application process to the job in hand, the consistency of testing and the quality of communication at each stage all contribute to a candidate’s perception of how “just” a hiring process is. When a candidate feels they’re being subjected to an unfair evaluation, they become less motivated, often abandoning the application altogether. As a result, key conversion metrics like completion rate and offer acceptance rate plummet, prolonging the campaign and eating up more budget and resources.
What’s more, two separate studies, one published in Group & Organization Management and the other in the Journal of Management, both found that when an applicant believes a company’s hiring procedures are fair and objective, they tend to perform markedly better on situational judgment evaluations, reasoning tests and skills assessments.
In other words, if employers want to:
A) get an accurate picture of each individual applicant and
B) keep them motivated and engaged throughout the candidate journey,
they need to first make sure that their process is fair and objective, then effectively communicate this throughout the process.
One solution is sending applicants a video explainer along with the interview invitation that outlines the application process step by step, as well as how the technologies and tests involved help to ensure an equal footing for all.
Building a Fair and Objective Recruitment Process
While it may not be possible to remove bias from the recruitment process entirely, there are steps that can be taken to mitigate its influence. When properly designed and implemented, automated and data-led assessment tactics keep psychological barriers to objectivity, such as thin slicing (when people make judgement calls based on narrow windows of experience), at bay, thereby leveling the playing field for candidates and improving outcomes for recruiters.
There are a number of ways to help build a fair and objective process, I’ve highlighted 3 recommendations below:
1. The screening process
At this stage, recruiters should focus on judging a candidate’s aptitude and skills, rather than their personal backgrounds or demographic information. By relying on situational judgement tests instead of a CV, you’ll get a better sense of an applicant’s fit for a given position, which, let’s face it, matters more than where they went to school or how old they are.
2. First-round interviews
By using pre-recorded video interview questions instead of in-person interviews in earlier stages, you provide an efficient and consistent experience for the candidates and consistent review criteria for the recruiters, both of which are crucial when establishing a fair and objective system of assessment.
3. Reviewer decision-making
Once you’ve established a baseline set of review criteria, machine learning algorithms can monitor reviewer scoring for potential instances of bias, then automatically re-introduce affected candidates back into the process for another round of review, whilst helping recruiters to understand potential biases, and work on addressing them.
This approach dramatically improves the quality of your initial applicant pool, ensuring that your process not only identifies and pushes through the best possible candidates, but also ensures those candidates feel compelled to see the process through and ultimately, accept an offer if and when it’s given.
If you want to learn more about building a fair and objective recruitment process, sign up for our free webinar here.