Avoid Bias in Hiring with the Right Background Check Partner
At a time of renewed concern about equality—in the workplace and society—many organizations are looking at ways to increase equity in hiring and talent management. As your partner in the hiring process, we bring value-added products, services, and best practices to help you reduce bias and make well-informed hiring decisions.
The Importance of Limiting Bias in Hiring
Taking steps to reduce bias and improve diversity in the workplace offers candidates and employees fair and equal access to jobs and promotional opportunities. It’s also good for business. Research shows when organizations promote diversity, they perform better than they would otherwise. A McKinsey study found that organizations in the top quartile for racial and ethnic diversity are 35 percent more likely to have financial returns above the industry median. Those in the top quartile for gender diversity are 15 percent more likely to have better financial results. In addition, diverse work culture and practices lead to more engagement among employees, according to Deloitte research.
When bias seeps into the hiring process, it creates barriers for entry to women and underrepresented groups. Unconscious bias in hiring can be particularly damaging because it can cause you to miss out on great hires without even realizing it. In addition to racial, gender, and age bias, some of the other kinds of bias include:
- Confirmation bias: Searching for information during the interview process to confirm first impressions of a candidate
- Halo effect: Assuming “nice” candidates are the best fit for a role
- Personal similarity bias: Having a preference for candidates who seem most similar to you
By causing you to rule out an otherwise qualified candidate, hiring bias can rob your organization of qualified talent. Worse, claims of hiring bias and discrimination can be costly to your bottom line and reputation. In 2020, a national bank settled claims of hiring bias against women and minorities for $7.8 million, and a global consulting firm paid $11.6 million to settle claims of age-related hiring bias.
How Corporate Screening Helps to Reduce Bias in Hiring
The ideal background screening provider does more than deliver high-quality background checks. The right partner also maintains a commitment to the goals important in your hiring process, such as a positive candidate experience, transparency, and equity in the hiring process. Here are some of the ways we help you keep bias out of your hiring and background screening activities.
Offer tools to help you make better-informed hiring decisions
A core tenet of Corporate Screening background screening is seeking the truth—it should be for everyone—but isn’t always. Through our diverse mix of products and services, we help employers get to the truth of each candidate’s background, so you can make sound hiring decisions. With robust background screening results, you can get a complete picture of each candidate’s work history, education, and other credentials, such as licenses and certifications.
By offering technology solutions, guidance, and screening expertise and a deeper level of analysis, we help you fill in the blanks about a candidate that might have been left open using a lesser background check provider. Instead of leaving you to rely on assumptions or bias about a candidate’s fit for a position, we seek to offer you facts so you can quickly make hiring decisions. Some of the tools we offer to help you achieve this goal include:
- Verifications and references: We deliver information about candidate credentials and work experiences, so you can learn more about their skills and qualifications.
- Criminal records checks: In addition to database searches, we also provide guidance to help you determine when it’s necessary to conduct a court search.
- Continuous monitoring: We offer solutions to help you stay informed of new developments affecting individuals’ ongoing employment eligibility.
Maintain our commitment to accuracy in background screening
We understand the importance of getting complete and accurate candidate information. Our commitment to accuracy in background screening is critical to the success of our partnership with you. We prioritize accuracy by taking the following actions:
- Put turnaround time in the proper context: No speed for speed’s sake.
- Go the “extra mile” in the verification process: We go beyond the industry standard of three verification attempts to help you uncover in-depth information about candidate employment and education history.
- Apply judgment and effort to every background check request: Our screening analysts review background check reports to limit results with expunged criminal records, results for the wrong person, and results with prohibited information, such as a bankruptcy older than ten years.
Provide guidance and best practices in hiring
Reducing bias in hiring requires a balance of actions across candidate sourcing, assessment, and selection. Besides attracting a diverse mix of candidates for open positions, you also want your interview process to fairly assess candidates for their skills and experience. When it’s time to make an offer, you want to propose an equitable package and invite new hires into an inclusive and accepting work culture.
To support your efforts, we routinely provide guidance on hiring best practices. Recent examples cover the following topics:
- Ways to improve the candidate experience
- How to incorporate diversity in the hiring process
- Guidance for auditing and improving your background screening process
- How to incorporate pay equity into your hiring process
- How to build a work culture where employees feel safe and accepted
Provide updates on hiring legislation
Many state and federal hiring laws are designed to increase fairness in hiring for women, minorities, those with a criminal history, and others. Federal laws such as the Equal Pay Act and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act have been around for decades, and there are dozens of state and local laws impacting how you can hire. The following are the most influential laws aimed at reducing bias and improving equity in hiring:
- “Ban the box” laws: These laws prohibit a check box on job applications asking candidates about their criminal history. In many states, employers must wait until they have extended an offer to conduct a criminal background check.
- Salary history legislation: These laws prevent employers from asking candidates about current or previous pay, or using salary history when determining a job offer.
- Changing marijuana legislation: Some states have legalized some forms of medicinal and recreational marijuana use, with implications for pre-employment drug screening.
Part of the challenge of state and local hiring legislation is the variation within and between states. Ohio, for example, has no state-wide pay equity law, but individual cities in the state (Toledo and Cincinnati) have different laws in place to restrict employers from asking candidates about salary history. We offer best practices and keep you informed about the latest trends and developments in hiring legislation, so you can stay in compliance and build more equity in your hiring practices.
Reduce Bias in Your Hiring and Background Screening Process
Laws affecting the hiring process have set a foundation for building greater equity into the hiring process, and compliance with these laws is key. But there are additional actions your organization can take to root out bias in your hiring and talent management processes. By working with the right background screening partner, you can leverage high-quality and accurate background screening to help you keep bias out of your hiring process. You will also have the tools and resources to stay abreast of new developments, so you can take steps to increase equity in hiring and support a more diverse, inclusive workplace.