5 Proven Techniques for Objective Candidate Shortlisting: Enhance Fairness and Reduce Bias in Hiring
By Abraham Mmbaga
April 15, 2024

Most of the decisions we make every day are biased. We make decisions so fast based on our intuition and gut feeling.

Similar to hiring, most managers end up making biased decisions when deciding who to hire. As a result, they end up making the wrong hire.

89% of hiring managers report making judgments about applicants within the first 15 minutes of the initial interview (Gitnux, 2023).

When shortlisting candidates based on their resumes, there is a risk of making subjective decisions and overlooking potential talents due to the quality of the resume. To make informed decisions and create a fair shortlisting process, consider the following techniques :

Involve Experienced Specialists: Engage at least two experienced HR or recruiting specialists in the shortlisting and candidate selection process. This helps ensure the process is fair, objective, and free from biases related to age, disability, race, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, marital status, or pregnancy.

Define Hiring Criteria: Develop clear hiring criteria based on the current job description. Outline the necessary skills, qualifications, and competencies for the role, taking into account the level of responsibility (e.g., leadership or junior position). Define essential, preferred, and nice-to-have criteria such as education level, relevant experience, certifications, location, language fluency, and security clearances.

Create a Candidate Scorecard: Compare candidates using a scorecard that rates them based on established criteria. Assign numerical values to each criterion according to its importance to the role (e.g., mandatory criteria = 3 points, preferred criteria = 2 points, desirable criteria = 1 point). Evaluate each candidate and shortlist those with the highest scores.

Implement Blind Hiring: According to statistics by Gitnux, a blind recruitment process increased the likelihood of hiring racial minorities by 29%. Reduce bias and discrimination by employing blind screening. Remove demographic information from applications before they reach the hiring manager, focusing solely on the criteria relevant to the position. This can be done manually or through applicant tracking systems (ATS) with built-in blind screening features.

Conduct Early Assessments: Integrate skills assessments early in the selection process, such as during the application stage, to quickly identify unqualified candidates. This helps you focus on high-intent job seekers who are genuinely interested in the position and meet the job requirement

By following these techniques, you can create a more objective, fair, and effective shortlisting process that prioritizes relevant qualifications and potential performance.


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