Ways To Screen Candidates Fairly

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James SiuOctober 13, 2020


Everyone wants a fair shot at their dream job but this isn’t always the case. Conscious and unconscious bias can make it difficult for busy recruiters to screen candidates fairly. The good news is there are a variety of manual and digital solutions that can help you screen candidates with more objectivity.

In this blog, we provide tips for screening candidates fairly and effectively. 

How can you screen candidates fairly?

What does screening candidates fairly actually entail? A fair screening process is an ideal scenario where all candidates get an equal opportunity to be considered for a job. This includes having resumes reviewed the same way and with the same level of attention, asking the same interview questions and providing the same opportunities for candidates to demonstrate their abilities. 

A fair screening process is important to ensure candidate satisfaction and maintain company reputation. This will allow your business to attract more candidates and therefore, maximises the chances of you securing the best candidate. With the increasing importance of soft skills, and resumes becoming less relevant, recruiters are searching for a method that can fairly assess a candidate's soft skills without bias. 

To help you screen candidates fairly, we detail some manual and digital solutions that can assist in maintaining fairness in your screening process

Improving your screening process without added technology 

The following methods can be used to ensure a fairer screening process without the use of external technology.

Structured interviews 

Structured interviews are interviews where the recruiter asks a set of pre-planned interview questions. These questions will be asked to every candidate in the same order to ensure consistency. Candidate answers will then be recorded and graded against a scoring system determined by the recruiters. 

To create a structured interview, there are a few crucial steps to take.

Analyse the job 

Every position has different tasks and responsibilities. Analyse the job you are recruiting for and what skills a candidate needs to excel in this position. Then, define the requirements and skills you are looking for. Make sure you elaborate on soft skills beyond the basics like communication skills. For example, new hires might also need to be adaptive and have growth mindsets for the position you have in mind.

Design the questions 

Design questions that focus on assessing whether the candidate possesses skills relevant to the position as defined in step 1. Consider using a mixture of behavioural and situational questions to analyse a candidate's ability. For example, to assess communication skills you can ask: Describe a time when you had to integrate into a new team?

Determine grading criteria 

A comprehensive grading criteria will help ensure your decisions are objective. This can be a simple scale from 1 to 5 or as complicated as 1 to 100. This criterion will be your bread and butter for assessing candidates and their answers. It is advised to have multiple people score the same candidate to get a greater variety of opinions and reduce potential bias.

Using structured interviews allows for more consistent and fair interviews. As recruiters are asking questions from a script, there exists less chance for bias to emerge thus promoting fairness. Furthermore, it allows recruiters to easily compare candidate answers and grade them accordingly. 

Panel interviews 

Panel interviews include multiple interviewers. Panel interviews are used to allow different representatives of the business to reach a consensus before making a hiring decision.

Panel interviews allow the company to reduce bias by introducing different perspectives and diverse backgrounds into the interview process. It also allows the candidate to expand on their expertise in more depth due to the presence of more experienced interviewers thus giving them a chance to demonstrate their knowledge and skills. Having all important hiring decision-makers in one interview reduces the need for additional meetings further down the track saving valuable time and resources.  

To conduct a panel interview:

  1. Choose panel members who are trained in interviewing techniques and experts in their work. 
  2. Select a diverse panel from a variety of backgrounds to minimise bias during the interview.  
  3. Brief your panel on the candidate as well as what questions to ask. Remind them to take note of anything they find interesting and encourage them to use prepared probing questions.
  4. Utilise a grading criterion to help compare results at the end of the interview to reduce bias.

Blind screening 

Blind screening is a technique used by companies to screen candidates with minimal bias. 

You can conduct blind screening by removing all details of a candidate’s race, sexuality, gender, background and only focus on a candidate's skills to assess whether they are qualified for the role. Assign each resume or interview transcript a unique identifier and randomize the order. Then proceed to grade each submission using a pre-established criteria. To maximise consistency you could utilise a panel to grade a candidate together, which helps further reduce bias and give the candidate a fair go.

Improving your screening process with AI technology 

The best way to remove bias from the screening process is to automate the early stages of recruitment. 

Consider using AI technology to help optimise your recruitment process to screen candidates without bias. 

You can use AI technology to blindly screen candidates, conduct interviews that ask behavioural and situational questions and test candidates skill sets. 

Here are three tools you can use to do this. 

Applicant Tracking Systems

An applicant tracking system (ATS) is a digital software that provides recruitment and hiring tools to empower your recruitment process. An ATS can help screen candidates fairly by filtering out certain information such as age and gender to ensure that all decisions are made purely based on candidate ability.  ATS can reduce bias even further through anonymous feedback, where feedback will be automatically stored and separated based on positive or negative without the presence of names. This will reduce bias in the screening phase as every interviewer will have different opinions on the candidate.

Automated Interviews 

Automated interviews provide a bias free solution because they can screen candidates blindly. This digital solution involves using AI to help screen candidates automatically in the form of video or phone interviews. This provides candidates with a unique opportunity to demonstrate their ability without the presence of bias.

For example, Curious Thing provides automated AI phone interviews that assess a candidate's soft skills at scale. The AI analyses what a candidate says and not how they say it, thus ensuring candidates are treated fairly and given an equal opportunity to show off their skills. With comprehensive insights based on data, Curious Thing empowers recruiters to make informed and unbiased decisions.

Psychometric tests 

Psychometric tests are tests that are designed to measure a candidate's suitability for a role. These tests may include minigames, simulated work environment or personality tests. Recruiters use psychometric tests to assess for certain soft skills and cognitive abilities. These tests only take into account candidate skills and abilities, thus removing any potential bias and unfairness in the screening process.

The results of the psychometric tests can be used to select the best performing candidates to move through the recruitment funnel. This solution allows you to provide every candidate with a chance to demonstrate their abilities whilst saving you valuable time.

Assess your own recruitment process 

With so many different manual and digital solutions to help eliminate bias in the recruitment process, what are you waiting for? Take a moment to assess your own recruitment process to find areas where bias can be minimised.