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Thursday, November 15, 2012

Smarter thinking needed for diversity in recruitment, experts say

Unconscious bias and social mobility challenges are preventing diversity in recruitment, according to experts who spoke at a seminar organised by WCN recently.

The event hosted by the e-Recruitment software provider brought together major organisations including HSBC, the Ministry of Justice, HMRC and Royal Mail Group to hear the latest developments in improving diversity in recruitment. Speakers shared views on the diversity challenge and reaching out to under-represented groups.

Dan Robertson, Diversity & Inclusion director at the Employers Network for Equality and Inclusion, stated that we all have a habit of fast thinking which quickly leads to poor decisions and bias. Robertson talked about how most of us have a bias blind spot; we can see everyone else's bias, but not our own.

"Affinity bias, leads us to favour people who are like us. It creates commonness which leads to comfort and this leads us to assume competence, as we resonate with the individual. It is this issue that affects all the diversity issues such as gender, ethnicity, social background, accent, nationality, sexual orientation and disability," he said.

"We look to confirm our initial impressions and expectations, screening out information which does not fit the expectation and filling gaps with our default information.  For an unbiased approach, companies need to consider how ambiguous the information was that helped form that impression of the candidate. Where applicable, each interviewer should score the candidate independently, before all scores are compared by the panel as a whole. Plus there should be no pressure when making the decision."

Mark Houlihan, business development manager at WCN, explained how e-Recruitment technology has the ability to make recruitment more accessible to disabled candidates. Candidates can complete much of the job seeking process from the comfort of their home environment, or apply via a guaranteed interview scheme within the system.

"Just as you must design your website to be viewable in a variety of web browsers, you must also design it to be readable by a variety of screen readers - applicants should be able to adjust the text size, and screen contrast. Plus the solutions can be configured up to AAA accessibility - making the web content accessible to people with disabilities." said Houlihan.


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