Posts Tagged ‘Discriminatory Hiring’

Considering all the Facets of Discriminatory Hiring Practices

December 8th, 2014

One of your primary goals when interviewing promising new candidates for your organization is to keep an open mind and evaluate each person on his or her merits without letting any biases influence the recruitment process. Key to this is making sure that you are not engaging in discriminatory hiring practices. Of particular concern is bias based on racial, family, age or gender characteristics.

Racial Bias in Hiring

While great strides have been made in racial harmony, human resources professional need to remain on guard against discrimination, both overt and inadvertent.

For example, recent research by a group of economists shows that some recruiters, even though they are not biased themselves, have a fear that their customers do hold racial bias and will make their hiring decisions accordingly, noted a recent report at Fortune.

The economists sent in 9,400 false resumes, using “typically black” names in half and “typically white” names in the other half to determine the rate of discrimination in the job market. It turned out that there was more evidence for hiring bias when it came to customer service jobs as compared to jobs focusing on coworker interaction (managers, coordinators and so on).

Familial Nepotism in Hiring

What about nepotism? It’s not illegal, and bosses can fire an employee to free up a spot for a son or a niece, for example, according to a recent post at AOL Jobs. However, nepotism may be prohibited in government positions, or under conditions when your company is subject to the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.

Businesses that hire mostly family members may get into hot water if they consistently turn down more qualified candidates who also happen to be of a different race or nationality.

Gender Discrimination in Hiring

Recruiters may harbor a bias against genders based on old-fashioned stereotypes, such as the idea that women are unsuited for physically demanding jobs or that men cannot work as nurses or flight attendants.

While these are particularly egregious examples of discrimination, you need to be aware of unconscious bias as you examine resumes for the best match for the position in terms of background, experience and accomplishments.

Age Discrimination in Hiring

There are a number of ways where age discrimination can crop up during recruitment. Does your organization ever advertise open positions while using phrases such as “young-thinking” in the job description?

You may not realize that this can lead to age discrimination, noted a recent report at CNN Money. It cited research from Clemson University that indicated 30 percent of people aged 53 and up have faced discrimination because of how old they were. Making mattes worse, people who lose their job at the age of 45 may never get another job, noted researchers at the University of Sydney.

Factors leading to age bias include holding the idea that older workers are not good with modern technology or that they might miss work more often because older people tend to get sick more frequently than younger workers.

Recognizing the potential pitfalls of discrimination and taking steps to address these concerns head-on will help you avoid lawsuits due to unfair hiring practices. It’s also important to remember that by avoiding discriminatory practices, you open up your available talent pool to a greater degree, which can only help to boost your organization’s bottom line.