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  • Writer's pictureMichelle Kemp

Get rid of that “B”!

No matter how hard you try, that “B” always shows up. That “B” shows up when you are with friends having a good time, when you are at work handling your business with colleagues, even when you are alone watching television. They tell everyone about yourself, including why you engage with people the way you do. It can be darn right embarrassing. That ‘B” is Bias, and a killer for changing learned habits.

Bias is an implicit mindset that can judge, stereotype, discredit, and belittle people because they do not share similar personalities, gender, beliefs, socioeconomic status, affinity groups, race and more that are adopted from white dominant discourse to rule by generalization. Intentional or not, it is rooted by discrimination that we’ve all, in some form, learned and practiced. When it comes to hiring practices, I’ve seen bias show up with interviewers judging and comparing an introvert to an extrovert on how they “show up”, to determining who’s a “smart'' candidate based on their pedigree. Neither provides evidence that these indicators identify a promising candidate that can do the job within your organizational culture; they’re assumptions based on a controlled ideology. To combat this, best practice is to have

  • bias training for all hiring managers,

  • rubric (with specific interview questions and responses) that is objective, measurable, and aligns with the organization's core values and competencies,

  • and practice the rubrics with fidelity.

But most importantly, always have at minimum 2:1 interviews so that an additional perspective and expertise (heterogeneous) is provided to call out that “B” when it creeps up. So that decision makers are not making decisions alone that can jeopardize equity. This accountability check is the secret sauce to hiring based on who will add value to a role, as well as increase diversity.

Also published on LinkedIn.

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