How using a recruitment agency removes bias

How using a recruitment agency removes bias

Bias affects all aspects of our lives, far more than we would like to think. Particularly when it comes to dealing with people in the workplace, we are naturally subjective. It takes clear vision, training and a strong, objective mindset to successfully recruit without bias.

The term to understand is ‘unconscious bias’. How we think is predefined by our life and work experiences. We may not mean to have bias in our decisions but sadly it infiltrates our well-behaved broadmindedness and sends us off kilter. This is particularly unhelpful when deciding who we should choose to work in our organisations!

How can a recruitment agency help to remove bias?

When a company manages their own recruitment there will naturally be areas of bias to overcome. By this we don’t just mean the more overtly areas of bias such as age, gender, race and sexual identity. Bias creeps into all recruitment decisions. This is because companies know too much about:

  • Current personnel
  • Previous employees
  • The kind of staff their clients warm to
  • Historical HR issues
  • Industry stereotypes and norms

Such background knowledge affects decisions, from the very first step of making a new post available.

As a detached third party, a recruitment agency acts as a good soundboard against bias, instead focusing on the mindset and skill the role needs. Dave who left in 1998 after blotting his copybook in an incident involving fraudulent activity, and Barbara who skipped off to a competitor for them to benefit from her years of training, are unknown to a recruitment agency. They won’t be concerned about recruiting another Dave or Barbara. Instead they will recruit without bias based on agreed criteria.

Preparing to recruit without bias

The input and expertise of a recruitment professional at the preparation stages of hiring will help to eliminate bias. A recruitment agency can prepare a company for unbiased recruitment by

  • Receiving CVs and removing any reference to race, nationality, gender, age or sexual identity before passing them to the client
  • Removing wording in job descriptions and adverts that may be gendered or contain other biases
  • Using recruitment software including personality profiling, apps and AI to make data-driven decisions
  • Forming an interview panel rather than agreeing to just one company interviewer
  • Creating a structured interview process with the same questions for every client.

Overcoming unconscious bias with AI

At Monarch Personnel we were early adopters of artificial intelligence in recruitment. Recruitment agencies have access to AI software that is rarely purchased by companies, and which has revolutionised recruitment in recent years. AI removes bias in a way that individuals could never achieve, simply because we are emotional humans, sometimes with an axe to grind!

Using machine learning and pre-defined questions, AI video interviews electronically analyse applicants, picking up on language used, facial expressions, reactions, tone of voice, body language, confidence, communication skills and level of interest. Each applicant receives the same questions and is given an objective, unbiased score.

The need for speed

Sometimes an organisation needs to recruit very quickly. To allegedly save time they will naturally want to go with what they know best and advertise in the usual place, using previous job descriptions, looking for replicas of their most successful staff. As outlined above, this kind of approach creates bias.

A recruitment agency works quickly and has a far greater reach to find suitable candidates. With speedy software, databases and a holistic approach, a recruitment agency can place candidates very quickly and without any bias that would otherwise impact the recruitment process.

Can we help?

At Monarch Personnel we help our clients to recruit on mindset and remove bias from their recruitment processes.

If you’d like to learn more about our approach, and how this all ties in with our philosophy that ‘mindset matters’, please get in touch.

Posted in Help & advice and tagged #mindsetmatters #bias #unconsciousbias on