We all have biases–to eliminate bias in your hiring process requires education, preparation and new insights and changes for all who are involved in the recruiting and hiring process.

  • Check job descriptions for wording that is exclusive.
  • In job postings and descriptions, use a broad set of criteria to determine whether someone is the right fit for the job (e.g., Does the person really need a college degree, or would a different degree or five years of experience suffice?
  • Look for candidates with transferable skills, e.g., most veterans develop skills while serving our country, and hiring vets can help them return to civilian life.
  • Use results-based descriptions that outline what someone is expected to achieve.
  • Place recruitment ads in a wide range of sources to tap new populations.
  • Tap organizations that can connect you to populations new to your organization (e.g., VABIR, refugee resettlement organizations).
  • Look for candidates in places you haven’t regularly reached out to, e.g., use “specialized recruitment drives.”
  • Consider hiring “over-qualified” workers who are post-career or mature.
  • Use methods that help to eliminate unconscious bias (special bias and “blind” hiring), e.g., review resumes without gender, race, hobbies or other demographic information; avoid looking at candidates’ social media).
  • Don’t require background checks or drug-testing unless they are absolutely needed (this may help open the workforce to those who have a history of crime or substance abuse disorder but are ready to re-enter the workforce — or those who would pass the test but are fearful of taking the test due to their history).
  • Using an employment agency that provides recovery coaching to help recovering employees maintain employment.
  • Re-hire recovery employees if they’ve lapsed (organizations report that employees in recovery are some of their most loyal and hard-working, and work is an important step in recovery. Also, re-hired employees need no training.)
  • Help interviewers and supervisors understand that some employees come with extra support systems (e.g., State training assistance, language translators, child care assistance, recovery coaching).
  • To reduce bias, conduct structured interviews that ask the same questions of each candidate.