While the position itself is not one that’s always known to the general public, hiring managers are a crucial member of any workforce. They have an incredibly important job to do, as without any staff hired, a company couldn’t run at all. Whether they know it or not, hiring managers are hugely influential in the makeup of a company and its teams.
When it comes to diversity and inclusion, a lot of positive change can happen in the hiring pipeline. It’s important that hiring managers know the current representation and makeup of a company and look for ways to better diversify their teams. Put simply: A greater diversity of thought within a company can lead to a better experience and product as the end result.
This means that hiring managers also need to be self-critical and self-aware in how they’re helping to build those teams. We all carry conscious and unconscious biases within ourselves — they are the products of our individual life experiences. These prejudices aren’t always known or may not always be purposeful, but regardless it’s crucial to know how they may be affecting the hiring process for your company.
By knowing what prejudices are affecting your hiring practices, you can be sure to address them within yourself and within your team. Addressing biases will help to ensure you’re hiring the best possible person for the job, will diversify your workforce, and will make you a better manager overall. Here are a few benefits and things to know about addressing biases as a hiring manager:
Biases Can Vary
When people think of biases, their minds may leap directly to racism or sexism. These are two very prominent biases that people may carry, especially in fields that have become very white and very male-dominated. However, biases come in many shapes and forms, as well as intensities.
It’s important to know the different types of biases in order to best catch and address them within yourself and within your team. Things like classism, homophobia, or xenophobia are equally as damaging to your hiring practices. If you’re only looking for racism or sexism, you may miss more subtle — but equally important — biases that are affecting your workplace.
One such subtle bias to look for is against anyone who may be positive for HIV or AIDs. Due to deeply ingrained societal misunderstandings around how people actually contract these types of infections, people who have been diagnosed with either of these conditions may find it difficult to keep their jobs if they happen to disclose their conditions. By educating yourself and others on your hiring team about a bias in regards to people’s personal lives or personal health, you can look past misinformation and hire or retain a really wonderful employee.
Another type of bias may be that you assume if someone isn’t applying for a job a certain way, that they aren’t qualified. Maybe an applicant submitted their resume through a job posting site instead of directly to the company’s job portal. This doesn’t make them any less qualified or capable — it simply means they have a different approach to their job hunt.
Diversity Is a Benefit
As was mentioned prior, the more diverse your workforce, the more problems your teams will be able to tackle. People learn to solve problems and create products differently based on different backgrounds, experiences, and thought patterns that they can bring to the table. Investing in diversity is one of the top team building practices for organizations.
In some cases, diversity and inclusion in the workplace can directly contribute to a greater understanding of the consumer or customer. For example, in the nursing field, having a greater diversity of nurses allows for a higher level of relatability and understanding of patients from those same diverse backgrounds. Patients may feel safer and more comfortable in their care interacting with someone who they feel represents them and they can relate to.
For a second example, we can look at the technology sector. In most cases, tech companies are trying to solve a problem or promote positive daily habits by using technology like an app or a program. By creating a more diverse workforce, tech companies can begin to address bigger problems for audiences that previously hadn’t been included before, increasing their reach and user base. By having access to tech solutions more suited to their needs, those from different cultural backgrounds will see greater benefit from these innovations..
Regardless of the industry, diversifying the type of people you hire can have direct benefits for the rest of your company and for your customer. However, this can only happen by being aware of, and then addressing, internal biases. As a hiring manager, you can only create the best team by looking for the best people — no matter what.
Being Aware Makes You a Better Manager
In the end, being self-aware as a hiring manager is going to benefit you individually in the long term. You’ll be more in tune with how you work within the larger frame of your job and the company as a whole. Additionally, if done correctly, you can even grow personally and privately from checking in on individual biases.
You may benefit from engaging with some kind of journaling or tracking exercise. Exploring the way you engage with the world and the biases you have from that engagement can be exhausting, and making space to write it out can be cathartic. Remember: Doing work around biases is a lot of emotional labor and can be just as taxing as doing your day-to-day tasks.
You should also know that addressing internal biases as a hiring manager can help you to better lead your own team as it begins to diversify. You’ll have a better understanding of how your own immediate team members function in the workplace and ways to facilitate and lead them to success. Understanding a greater diversity of thought yourself can help your team to do the same.
If you need a motivator for doing this type of hard work in your office, it can help to also remind yourself that by growing as a hiring manager in this way, you’re growing as a person. If you aren’t motivated to check biases within yourself specifically for work, you may feel better knowing this will affect your personal life as well. There could be a whole world you’re missing out on by being biased about certain types of people.