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Njoyn Applicant Tracking System
Helping​ ​check​ ​unconscious​ ​bias​ ​at​ ​the​ ​door

We all have biases, for better or worse. But the concept of bias tends to fall into more negative than positive connotations for a variety of reasons. Not sure what we mean? Scan the headlines of your favourite media outlet and it probably won’t take you long to figure it out.

Once you recognize bias on this societal level, you’re more likely to perceive it in individual organizations. The effects may not create headlines for your organization, but they can still cause serious issues. For instance, recruiters and human resources professionals have long known about how bias keeps workforces from reflecting the diversity of the society around them–or worse, prevent the best candidate from winning the role. We talked about the phenomenon in our last blog post, Unconscious bias during recruiting.

Enlightened organizations are doing something about it this.

Working to prevent hiring bias

At Njoyn, we count our clients among those enlightened organizations. Our account managers stay in contact with clients, and we’ve increasingly been hearing more and more about fighting unconscious bias in the hiring process.

We’re glad to hear this. After all, we keep the Njoyn applicant tracking system evolving to meet the emerging needs of our clients. This perpetual development effort helps us continue to earn their trust, and their business.

An exciting new development

That development effort led us to create a feature for a major Canadian educational institution. More than private-sector businesses, public Canadian organizations are under pressure to improve the diversity of their workforces.

Recruiters at this institution select certain staff to join a hiring panel when they need to fill a new position. Each panel member receives an email to that effect.

But here’s the anti-bias twist: panel members don’t know who else is on the panel. They proceed to screen candidates within Njoyn, then categorize each applicant using a drop-list with three choices:

  • doesn’t meet criteria
  • meets criteria
  • exceeds criteria

At no point do panel members discuss candidates. This feature prevents individuals panel members from spreading their biases to their colleagues. By curbing this negative type of cross-pollination, the institution also keeps unconscious bias from blocking the path of the most qualified candidates to the careers they merit.

Built to encourage diversity in hiring

Njoyn is not owned by, or affiliated with, any specific job board. This relative freedom means that, using Njoyn, recruiters can post jobs to a wide variety of job boards. These include both widely recognized sites, as well as places that are a little off the beaten path (or, at least, off the paths that recruiters themselves usually beat). By casting a wider net, recruiters are more likely to increase the diversity of company workforces.

Other ideas emerging

Like our clients, we’re consciously grappling with this recruiting issue. We know that no system will ever replace the judgement of seasoned recruiters and hiring managers, and recruiting methods based on best practices.

But we can do more to keep unconscious bias from tainting the hiring processes. For instance, our recruiting system offers sophisticated and customizable reporting features. One client mentioned developing specific reports that would strip personal applicant details, like names, from the information that the hiring managers can see. Names could be replaced with numbers. Other data need not be divulged at all.

Has your organization been struggling with the consequences of unconscious bias in its hiring process? Have you come up with ways to put a stop to it? Drop us a line to share your story.