According to Bright Talk, “79% of HR professionals agree that unconscious bias exists in both recruitment and succession planning decisions”.
Interestingly, employees at large companies who perceive bias are nearly three times as likely (20% vs. 7%) to be disengaged at work. So, it is clear that unconscious bias in the workplace (and specifically the hiring process) needs to be addressed and changed. If it isn’t – the consequences on your business can be hugely detrimental!
What is Data-Driven Decision Making?
The problem that many hiring managers have, however, is figuring out how to eliminate opinion, sentiment and bias from the hiring process and what to replace it with. A common solution to removing bias from a hiring process is to implement Data-Driven Decision Making (DDDM). This is the process of letting data guide your decision-making.
In fact, DDDM has successfully been used across a range of businesses for a variety of purposes – for example, Leadership Development at Google, Real Estate Decisions at Starbucks and Driving Sales at Amazon. Today however, we will be discussing it mainly in the context of decision making within an interview process.
When the word ‘data’ is mentioned – the mind instantly goes to an Excel spreadsheet that is filled with percentages, decimals and ratios. However, data doesn’t have to just be numbers. There are two types of data – ‘Qualitative’ and ‘Quantitative’. Quantitative data focuses on numbers, whilst Qualitative data focusses on quality - Is more subjective and open to interpretation. It can provide more colour and context to the quantitative data we may have.
In the hiring process – quantitative data can be used for insights, like the size of your total addressable markets, results of technical tests as well as pass through and rejection rates. Your qualitative data would then attempt to provide you an explanation of why this is happening. For example, the explanation and reasons behind a particularly low interview pass through ratio. This may be caused by reaching out to the wrong people or qualifying on the wrong skills. Only your own data set can tell you!
What are the benefits?
The benefits of DDDM are wide ranging. Firstly, using data appeals to, and can bring together, a variety of stakeholders. Aligning stakeholders under one clear goal and action plan can be a challenge. Providing data that is clear and succinct, not only allows you to align your stakeholders, it means that you can report to different levels of the business about your hiring progress with ease. DDDM also allows you to be objective – you can focus on making meaningful, evidence-based decisions in line with what your business needs, rather than what you want (which may not be the same thing!).
How do we do this?
In the context of creating a non-bias data driven hiring process, creating and understanding the interview criteria and corresponding scorecards is essential. You need to build an interview framework that is meaningful, relevant, and allows you to identify who you want to hire. You do this drilling down with each hiring manager into what they actually want to hire and interview for, and creating corresponding interview questions, that they in turn are held accountable to in wash ups. This process of feedback and review allows you to iteratively improve your interview process over time.
A final word...
There are some challenges that you may face when using DDDM. It is important to recognise that almost every business and hiring process in the world will have unconscious cognitive biases impacting them. Due to this – you must be willing to accept that bias will likely exist and focus on identifying and trying to mitigate it.
As you can see, data doesn’t and can’t make decisions for you. Data is just a tool that you can use to enable yourself to make the best possible decisions for your business. Data can be used to tell a story, which can unite stakeholders under one objective and remove hurdles in the hiring process. However, the responsibility is on you to ensure that your data is objective, in context, relevant and used effectively. Only then can you make good decisions.
At Talent Point, we take a flexible and agile approach to in-house consultancy to help tech start-ups and scale-ups attract and retain the best talent. We don't only hire the right people, but we assist you realise the why and finding candidates who are aligned with these values too. We help improve current processes to ensure you’re set up for future success and a smoother, more personal candidate experience.
Our Talent Partners are fully embedded in our customer’s organisation, incorporating the flexibility and pace of an agency with the cultural understanding and empathy of an inhouse team. Our approach is customer-centric and data-driven to help customers make more informed and valuable decisions.
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