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  • Writer's pictureMariane Bekker

Reducing Unconscious Bias In The Interview Process

Updated: Jun 20, 2023


Evaluating strong candidates during the hiring process is crucial to building a high-performing team. However, traditional evaluation methods can often be subjective and prone to unconscious bias. To address this challenge, creating a rubric is an excellent approach. In this blog post, we will explore how to design an effective rubric and demonstrate how it can help reduce unconscious bias in the interview process.


1. Identify Key Competencies:


Begin by identifying the key competencies that are essential for success in the role you are hiring for. These competencies may include technical skills, problem-solving abilities, teamwork, communication, and adaptability. Tailor the competencies to align with the specific needs of your organization.


2. Define Performance Levels:


Next, define performance levels that reflect the desired proficiency for each competency. For example:

  • Exceptional: Consistently exceeds expectations, demonstrates deep knowledge, and provides innovative solutions.

  • Proficient: Meets expectations and possesses a solid understanding of the competency.

  • Developing: Shows potential and is making progress but requires further growth and improvement.

  • Needs Improvement: Does not meet expectations and requires significant development in the competency.

Ensure that the performance levels are clear, specific, and measurable, providing distinct descriptions for each level.


3. Create Descriptors:


Develop descriptors for each performance level within each competency. These descriptors should outline the behaviors, skills, and outcomes associated with each level. Here's an example for the competency of "Technical Skills":

  • Exceptional: Demonstrates expertise in multiple programming languages, frameworks, and tools, consistently delivers high-quality code, and contributes to the team's technical growth.

  • Proficient: Shows proficiency in a primary programming language, effectively uses libraries and APIs, and produces well-structured and maintainable code.

  • Developing: Exhibits basic knowledge of programming concepts and syntax, but requires guidance and further practice.

  • Needs Improvement: Struggles to apply programming concepts effectively and requires significant support and training.

4. Standardize Evaluation:


Ensure consistency by training interviewers on the rubric and providing them with examples of what constitutes each performance level. This standardization helps mitigate unconscious biases that can arise during evaluations and promotes a fair and objective assessment process.


5. Conduct Structured Interviews:


Design structured interviews that align with the rubric. Develop a set of interview questions that assess each competency and performance level. Assign interviewers specific competencies to evaluate, fostering a comprehensive assessment of candidates. Encourage interviewers to take detailed notes during the interview to support accurate evaluations.


Benefits of Using a Rubric to Reduce Unconscious Bias:

  • Objective Evaluation: A well-defined rubric provides an objective framework for assessing candidates' skills and abilities, reducing subjective judgments.

  • Consistency: The rubric promotes consistency across evaluations, ensuring that all candidates are assessed against the same criteria.

  • Focus on Competencies: By focusing on specific competencies, a rubric helps interviewers assess the relevant skills required for the role, minimizing biases related to personal characteristics.

  • Transparent and Fair Process: Using a rubric creates a transparent evaluation process, fostering a fair and equal opportunity for all candidates.

Creating a rubric to evaluate candidates is a powerful way to enhance the hiring process. By defining key competencies, establishing performance levels, and developing descriptors, you can effectively assess candidates in a fair and unbiased manner. Embracing this approach will not only lead to a more diverse and inclusive team but also ensure that you hire the most qualified candidates for your organization's success.


Remember, continuous refinement of the rubric based on feedback and evaluation outcomes is essential to maintain its effectiveness over time.


 

Mariane Bekker is a passionate advocate for women in tech, an angel investor, and the founder & CEO of Upward, a premier boutique recruitment agency connecting companies with exceptional diverse tech talent. With over a decade of experience building diverse engineering teams at leading startups, she’s navigated the intricacies of the startup landscape and understands the unique needs and aspirations of founders. Follow her LinkedIn for insights, industry trends, and valuable resources about Startups, Tech, and Diversity.




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Mariane Bekker is a passionate advocate for women in tech, an angel investor, and the founder & CEO of Upward, a premier boutique recruitment agency connecting companies with exceptional diverse tech talent. With over a decade of experience building diverse engineering teams at leading startups, she’s navigated the intricacies of the startup landscape and understands the unique needs and aspirations of founders. Follow her LinkedIn and Twitter for insights, industry trends, and valuable resources about Startups, Tech, and Diversity.

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