Analyze This: Unconscious Bias in Recruiting and What to Do About It

stock-photo-talent-acquisition-or-recruitmentManagers generally hire people they like who do not threaten them, notes talent management expert Josh Bersin, of Bersin by Deloitte. But the person who might be the most fun to have a beer with at the office holiday party is not necessarily the most qualified candidate.

A friend of mine once learned this lesson the hard way when he hired an affable fellow parent he had met at his children’s school events for project work. My friend was delighted when the acquaintance applied for the position. But delight turned to angst as the new hire’s organization and time management skills proved to be sorely lacking. What’s more, the bonhomie also drifted away as his acquaintance struggled with essential job duties and deadlines were missed. The result was an unmitigated mess.

Stories like this one illustrate why analytics in recruiting is very much on the rise. It’s important to use data so that hiring managers are not relying solely on their “gut feel” about prospective employees. Speaking on an XpertHR podcast last year, Bersin commented on another hiring mistake employers can avoid in saying, “If you analyze by data, you may find those who went to the best colleges and have the best GPA’s are not the best candidates.”

Predictive analytics can help reduce unconscious bias and snap decisions in the recruitment process. While not a cure all, it should better forecast who will be a top performer when done effectively.

Whitepaper Image #2_350x250_2That’s why HR teams are increasingly making the business case for analytics to key decision-makers in their organizations. For instance, the inability to retain new hires—either because they have a better opportunity or because you need to get rid of them—means an employer will not recoup its recruiting and training costs. Some metrics that can help an employer quantify the value of its recruitments efforts include:

  • Cost-per-hire—How much time/money is it costing to recruit and hire candidates?
  • Hiring source—Tracking the effectiveness of various hiring sources.
  • Time-to-fill—How quickly can an employer fill a vacancy?
  • Retention Rate—Are women and minorities disproportionately represented among departing employees?

Applicant tracking systems and other customized software applications are available to help employers gather data and populate a dashboard. By collecting and analyzing this data, an employer can apply the findings to its hiring efforts to avoid repeating past mistakes.

For more coverage of analytics and unconscious bias, download XpertHR’s white paper, “Winning the Talent Acquisition War in 2017.” Other talent acquisition trends featured in the white paper include:

  • Leveraging diversity;
  • Attracting and hiring millennials;
  • Mobile recruiting; and the
  • Gig economy.

March is talent acquisition month at XpertHR so look for more blogs on some of these trending topics.

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