HBR’s 7 Ways to Reduce Bias in Hiring


Unconscious biases have an effect on our judgement and discretion, and can cause issues in the workplace. The following tips can help employers reduce bias in the hiring process.

1. Seek to Understand

2. Rework Your Job Descriptions

  • Pay attention to word choices that may favour a particular type of applicant.
  • Be literal in the description, and what you need from a person in the role.
  • Look at how to write an inclusive job posting.

3. Try Removing Demographics from the Resume Review

  • Consider software that removes demographic characteristics or have someone on your team manually remove demographic characteristics such as name, address, where a degree is from, etc. This ensures the removal of unconscious biases.

4. Give a Work Sample Test

  • To best understand if a candidate is capable of doing the job, give them a work sample test to take home and return, or, consider a “working interview” where the candidate job shadows someone currently in the role. This tests skill versus appearance and personality.

5. Consider Your Interview Style

  • Think about how to minimize bias during your interview. One way to do this is to have a working interview – as mentioned in #4. The other is to have specific, literal questions.
    • Consider asking “Can you take me through your resume,” instead of “Tell me about yourself.” Consider “Can you give me an example of how you solved a problem,” instead of “We are looking for someone who is a problem solve. Tell me about how this describes you.”

6. Be Aware of Like-ability

  • There are many studies done on the impact of first impressions, and how it is natural for people to gravitate towards people they like. Consider giving likeability a score, so that you are aware of it, and how it is affecting your choice of candidate.

7. Set Diversity Goals

  • Diversity goals help measure what you are trying to achieve.
  • Diversity goals can be set on number of hires, but also number of diverse applicants.


This resource was adapted from the Harvard Business Review.