PeopleScout Jobs Report Analysis – December 2022

U.S. employers added 223,000 jobs in December, beating analyst expectations. The growth came despite rising interest rates aimed at slowing the job market. The unemployment rate dropped to 3.5%. Year-over-year wage growth fell to 4.6%.

jobs report infographic

The Numbers

223,000: U.S. employers added 223,000 jobs in December.

3.5%: The unemployment rate fell to 3.5 percent.

4.6%: Wages grew 4.6% over the past year.

The Good

December’s jobs report shows evidence the Federal Reserve’s strategy of increasing rates to provide a “soft landing” for the U.S. economy may be working. So, what would look like bad news in almost any other year is actually good news.  

The 223,000 jobs added to the economy is the smallest increase in the past years, as the Wall Street Journal reports, but it is still a healthy pace of job growth. Additionally, year-over-year wage growth slowed to 4.6%. Wage growth has remained stubbornly high over the past two years, and economists feared it could contribute to high inflation. December’s report helped allay some of those concerns.

The Bad

Though December’s job report was generally taken as good news, there are still some signs of unwanted weakness. As MarketWatch reports, layoffs in the technology sector are making an impact in the report. The business and professional services sector, which covers many tech roles, posted a decrease of 6,000 jobs. Additionally, while the labor force participation rate did increase in December, it still remains below prepandemic levels. This continues to contribute to the ongoing labor shortage.

The Unknown

Economists say that the slowing growth in December’s report will likely cause the Federal Reserve to slow the pace of interest rate increases aimed at slowing inflation. As the New York Times reports, the S&P 500 rose 2.3% with the release of the report. Investors have been eager for fewer and smaller interest rate increases. The Federal Reserve meets next on January 31.

PeopleScout Jobs Report Analysis—November 2022

U.S. employers added 263,000 jobs in November, beating analyst expectations. The growth came despite rising interest rates aimed at slowing the job market. The unemployment rate remained at 3.7%. Year-over-year wage growth rose to 5.1%.

jobs report infographic

The Numbers

263,000: U.S. employers added 263,000 jobs in November.

3.7%: The unemployment rate remained at 3.7%.

5.1%: Wages grew 5.1% over the past year

The Good

While the overall jobs number remained higher than expected in November, the growth was not spread evenly across industries. Service-based industries like leisure and hospitality and education grew, while goods-based industries like retail and transportation and warehousing saw jobs losses. As the New York Times reports, these numbers show that while employers are being more cautious, they are still finding reason to expand.

While the U.S. job market has fully recovered the number of jobs lost at the start of COVID-19 pandemic, some industries lag behind their 2019 jobs numbers, like leisure and hospitality. Those industries largely drove November’s growth.

The Bad

As MarketWatch reports, November’s jobs data is not promising when it comes to reducing inflation. Year-over-year wage growth jumped back up to 5.1%—significantly higher than the Federal Reserve’s goal. November alone saw a 0.6% jump in wages, which is more than double what is expected.

The Unknown

The Federal Reserve is set to meet in two weeks, and as the Wall Street Journal reports, November’s jobs numbers make it likely that officials will raise interest rates about 0.5%. This comes after four straight .075% increases. Fed Chair Jerome Powell has said that some prices that rose significantly in the past year, like used cars and housing could fall in 2023 but that “despite some promising developments, we have a long way to go” when it comes to inflation. To decrease inflation, experts will watch carefully in the next year to see how high and for how long the Federal Reserve will raise rates.

U.S. Workforce Trends Quarterly Report for Q3 2022

To help businesses succeed in navigating the current hiring climate, our Q3 2022 U.S. Workforce Trends Report shares the latest employment numbers along with exclusive jobs data across a variety of industries.

Although the high demand for U.S. workers has cooled a bit since its peak in April 2022 (11.9 million), the number of unfilled jobs remained high as of September 2022, with 10.1 million job openings, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Companies face a mismatch between supply and demand that has left about 1.7 job openings for every available worker, notes BLS data. The mismatch has led to increasing wages, with average hourly earnings up 5% year over year.

To help businesses succeed in navigating the current hiring climate, our U.S. Workforce Trends Quarterly Report for Q3 2022 shares the latest employment numbers along with exclusive jobs data across a variety of industries.

Key information in the report includes:

  • The latest national jobs numbers
  • Wage info for several key industries
  • Breakdown of jobs seeing the most growth
  • Recommended solutions and strategies for dealing with the labor shortage

PeopleScout Jobs Report Analysis—October 2022 

U.S. employers added 261,000 jobs in October, beating analyst expectations. The growth came despite rising interest rates aimed at slowing the job market. The unemployment rate rose to 3.7%. Year-over-year wage growth dropped to 4.7%. 

jobs report infographic

The Numbers  

261,000: Employers added 261,000 jobs to the U.S. economy in October.  

3.7%: The unemployment rate rose to 3.7%. 

4.7%: Wages grew 4.7% over the past year.  

The Good 

The 261,000 jobs added in October demonstrate continued resilience in the U.S. economy, according to the Wall Street Journal. Healthcare and education and business and professional services led the growth. While the leisure and hospitality sector has dropped back from the extremely high jobs numbers we saw during the Great Rehire, there is still sustained growth, led by hotels and other accommodations. 

The Bad  

Like last month, the bad news in October’s jobs report would look like good news at almost any other point. Job growth is strong, but as MarketWatch reports, the strong growth means the current labor shortages are not going anywhere. The Federal Reserve has been aggressively raising interest rates in the hopes of slowing the job market. The current labor shortages are driving higher wages, contributing to inflation. In fact, Fed Chairman Jerome Powell said the labor market is “out of balance” because there are too many job openings and not enough job seekers to fill them. 

The Unknown 

As the New York Times reports, the Federal Reserve is watching these jobs numbers closely, and October’s report suggests that they will be likely to raise rates again. Their next decision is scheduled for December 14. The fact that both hiring and wage growth have cooled slightly shows movement in the right direction, but experts say that it is still happening too slowly. Job postings actually rose again in September after falling in August, demonstrating the stubborn resilience of the job market. 

[On-Demand] Boosting Candidate Engagement with a Comprehensive Talent Strategy

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Available On-Demand

The current hiring environment remains a challenge for employers—in the U.S., there are currently 4.3 million more open jobs than there are job seekers. Not only are employers struggling to find enough qualified candidates, keeping them engaged proves even more critical amid rising trends like candidate ghosting and recruitment process drop-out as well as the continued Great Resignation.  

To cope, many organizations have added more gig workers, but the market for contingent workers suffers the same challenges. If talent leaders aren’t leveraging a unified strategy for recruiting both full-time employees and gig workers, gaps in their workforce will persist.

So, how can you engage these different types of candidates? Join PeopleScout Global Vice President of Implementation Mark Fita for the newest Talking Talent webinar, Boosting Candidate Engagement with a Comprehensive Talent Strategy, available now on-demand.

In this webinar, Mark will cover:

  • Today’s candidate recruitment process landscape
  • Best practices for optimizing your recruiting process
  • How to expand your employer brand to gig workers
  • The importance of using the right technology to engage candidates
  • And more!

PeopleScout Jobs Report Analysis—September 2022

U.S. employers added 263,000 jobs in September. This came in just below analyst expectations. The unemployment rate fell back to 3.5%. Year-over-year wage growth dropped to 5.0%.

jobs report infographic

The Numbers

263,000: U.S. employers added 263,000 jobs in September.

3.5%: The unemployment rate fell to 3.5%.

5%: Wages rose 5% over the past year.

The Good

The good news in September’s jobs report may seem surprising. The red-hot jobs market is cooling. As MarketWatch reports, the latest report marks the slowest job growth in 17 months as the Federal Reserve continues to raise rates and employers face continuing labor shortages. The Federal Reserve is hoping to slow the unsustainable pace of job growth to avert a potential recession. Wage growth also cooled slightly in September. This is a major focus for policy makers as higher wages can increase inflation.

The Bad

The bad news in September’s report is that the cooling isn’t happening fast enough. While September’s report shows a slower pace of hiring compared to recent years, historically, the 263,000 jobs added demonstrate significant job growth. Labor force participation also dropped slightly and has yet to reach pre-pandemic levels. As the Wall Street Journal reports, this means the Federal Reserve is not meeting its inflation goals and will likely raise rates again in November.

The Unknown

The big question for economists will be whether the Federal Reserve is able to do enough to slow inflation in coming months to avert a recession. As the New York Times reports, the next rate decision is scheduled for Nov. 2, and officials are closely watching the jobs data. There are indications that employers are starting to slow the pace of hiring, as the number of open jobs fell by more than one million in August, and filings for unemployment benefits have slightly increased. However, economists say the economy needs to slow more quickly than the current pace.

Seasonal Hiring: How RPO can Help You Better Source and Hire Seasonal Workers 

Hiring seasonal workers is essential for employers in need of extra talent during the holiday season. If your organization depends on seasonal hiring to augment your workforce, it is vital to efficiently source, recruit, and onboard your seasonal hires to ensure you are staffed during the holidays.

Without a well-designed seasonal hiring program in place, employers risk going understaffed for the holidays, or for other times of the year when a business reaches a peak. In this article, we will walk through how an RPO provider can help you hire talent for the holidays and equip you with tips on building a seasonal hiring pipeline.

What is a Seasonal Worker?

hiring seasonal workers

A seasonal worker or employee is a worker who works for a short period to meet seasonal peaks in demand for an employer. This might coincide with weather seasons or with holiday seasons.

Employers that use seasonal hires typically need assistance at the same time each year, for example as lifeguards or lawn care workers in the summer or ski instructors or snowplow drivers in the winter. When hiring seasonal workers, you can hire them on a part-time or full-time basis depending on your needs.


9 Strategies for Solving High-Volume Hiring Challenges

What are the Benefits of Hiring Seasonal Workers?

If your organization experiences seasonal peaks in demand, hiring seasonal workers can be a good solution for staffing issues. Here are some of the benefits:

Extra Hands When You Need Them: When a business reaches its peak season, seasonal workers provide you that extra help fast when you need it, without the expense and time of hiring full-time staff.

Assist Full-Time Staff: Your seasonal employees can help alleviate the load carried by your full-time employees. This can improve morale for your permanent workforce because they have the support they need during peak times.

Low Risk: When you hire a permanent employee, you don’t always know if they’ll be a good fit for the job. Seasonal employees are only hired for a short period. If they aren’t a good fit, you have only made a minimal investment.

Potential full-time employee: On the other hand, if you hire a seasonal employee who works out well, you might be able to offer them a permanent position when one becomes available. It’s a trial run that works as a recruiting method for permanent positions.

Better Seasonal Hiring Begins with Crafting Better Job Descriptions

seasonal hiring

Writing job descriptions for seasonal positions is different from temporary, full- and part-time roles. It is important that your job descriptions accurately reflect the nature of your open positions, so candidates know ahead of time if they should apply.

For example, many seasonal roles are in a warehouse and logistics setting and may require candidates to work in a more physically demanding environment. Major retailers and logistics companies are in serious need of seasonal logistics workers with Walmart looking to fill 20,000 logistics roles while UPS, Kohl’s and Target are in need of 100,000 seasonal warehouse hires each.

To better understand the nature of the seasonal jobs for which you are writing job descriptions consider spending time shadowing workers in the relevant seasonal positions. What’s more, COVID-19 has made many employers became more familiar with video interviewing, however, the idea of leveraging videos to enhance your employment marketing and employer branding is sometimes overlooked.  

Job descriptions can be bolstered with video. A seasonal job posting could include a short video of a hiring manager describing the job and what they are looking for in a seasonal hire. Your video can even include examples of workers performing the most common tasks required to give candidates an accurate idea of the work involved.

How RPO Can Help

RPO providers can help employers conceive of and create a talent attraction strategy that considers both the needs of employers and seasonal hires through a data-driven approach to talent advisory and recruitment marketing making you a seasonal employer of choice.

Sourcing Seasonal Hires

Recruiting seasonal employees begins with mining a verdant source of seasonal workers. Employers should look for candidates such as students and other demographic looking for short-term employment opportunities. For example, recruiting recent graduates who are taking time to figure out what they want to do long-term is one way of sourcing seasonal talent. Often, these candidates prefer the temporary nature of seasonal work compared to a longer-term commitment.

Moreover, hiring candidates with a seasonal work mindset can help you keep them around for the full season or even retain them for next year.

When sourcing seasonal workers, look to hire people who want seasonal work including

  • Retired workers
  • Workers looking for extra work during the holidays
  • Stay-at-home parents who want to work while their kids are in school
  • Students who are on holiday break

How RPO Can Help

Many RPO providers have talent pools and networks they can tap into to source the right candidates for seasonal positions. RPOs also have experience building talent pipelines from the ground up and can assist employers in creating a sustainable seasonal hiring program that delivers year-in-year-out.

RPO partners also offer technology expertise to help you track, measure and optimize your seasonal hiring campaign by showing which channels and recruitment marketing messages are yielding the best candidates. They can help you with recruitment analytics so you can see your recruitment funnel at all your sites in a centralize dashboard.

Managing High-Volume While Hiring Seasonal Workers

seasonal hires

Many employers in need of seasonal hires require a large volume of talent to keep up with peak demand. High-volume hiring at its heart is a problem of scale which requires optimizing your time and recruiting spend. Recruitment automation can help you reduce the manual workload on your recruiting team and hiring managers while keeping your visibility on all of the candidates progressing through different stages of the interview process. Automating certain steps, such as screening and triggering assessments, allows recruiters to focus their time on higher-value, strategic work.

How RPO Can Help

An HR outsourcing solution such as RPO provides employers the ability to scale up seamlessly as seasonal hiring demands shift. With an internal talent acquisition team, it may be difficult to scale up hiring quickly enough to handle a higher number of hires and then scale back down when hiring volumes shrink.  What’s more, recruitment technology platforms such as PeopleScout’s Affinix can help you automate your recruitment program and create great high-volume hiring efficiency.

Never Neglect Your End of-Season Plans

How you end a relationship with seasonal hires can help with next season’s hiring. Here are a few things to keep in mind at the end of the season:

  • Availability: Ask outgoing seasonal employees if they would be interested in returning next season. Some workers design their needs and lifestyle around managing seasonal and temporary jobs, and they may be looking for another opportunity next year.
  • Exit interviews: To learn from successes and drawbacks, hold exit interviews with seasonal employees, regardless of how long they worked with you. Having informative feedback can help streamline next year’s efforts.
  • Permanent talent: Tempting as it may be, you likely won’t have the means or the resources to bring every seasonal employee on full-time. However, keep an eye on exceptional workers whose mix of soft skills and talent would be excellent fit as vacancies come open during other parts of the year.

How RPO Can Help

An RPO provider can help organize your offboarding efforts at the end of the season by assisting in exit interviews, managing your seasonal worker database as well as hiring top performers to permanent positions. An RPO provider’s ability to scale down engagements quickly means the process can be seamlessly executed so that you can resume business as usual.

Are You in Need of a Seasonal Hiring Partner?

seasonal worker

When it comes to maintaining your seasonal operations and providing excellent customer service during your peak months, hiring seasonal employees can help keep your business moving.

Whether you are in need of seasonal recruiting or a permanent talent solution, employers in our new world of work face rising recruitment challenges. An outsourced recruitment solution like PeopleScout’s high-volume RPO and Total Workforce Solutions can help you stay connected with talent and provide hiring resources that will add immediate value to your talent programs.

PeopleScout Jobs Report Analysis—August 2022

U.S. employers added 315,000 jobs in August. This came in slightly below analyst expectations. The unemployment rate rose to 3.7% as more workers entered the labor force. Year-over-year wage growth remained high at 5.2%.

The Numbers

315,000: U.S. employers added 315,000 jobs in August.

3.7%: The unemployment rate rose to 3.7%.

5.2%: Wages rose 5.2% over the past year.

The Good

Though job growth cooled slightly from July, the 315,000 jobs added to the economy are good news. As CNBC reports, August’s jobs report demonstrates that employers are continuing to hire and suggests that the Federal Reserve could avert a recession.

The increased unemployment rate is also good news for economists because the month-over-month 0.2% increase is paired with a 0.3% increase in the labor force participation rate. This means that the economy is strong enough to bring in more workers who were sidelined earlier in the pandemic.

The Bad

Despite the strength of August’s report, experts still spot a few areas of concern. As the Wall Street Journal reports, some minority groups saw either increased unemployment or decreased labor force participation. Fewer Black adults were working or seeking a job in August.

Additionally, some experts believe job growth could continue to cool as the U.S. economy has now recovered all of the jobs lost in the early days of the coronavirus pandemic. This means that rehiring will likely be less of a factor in future jobs reports.  

The Unknown

Economists will continue to watch how the economy responds to rate increases by the Federal Reserve. As the New York Times reports, policy-makers at the Federal Reserve believe that the job market is overheated. There are currently twice as many jobs open as there are job seekers, which is driving up prices and contributing to inflation. The hope is that by raising rates, they will be able to cool inflation and slow job growth without allowing unemployment to skyrocket.

PeopleScout Jobs Report Analysis – July 2022

U.S. employers added 528,000 jobs in July. This beat analyst expectations and marks the point where the U.S. economy has recovered all 22 million jobs lost in the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic. The unemployment rate dropped to 3.5%. Year-over-year wage growth increased slightly to 5.2%.

jobs report infographic

The Numbers

528,000: Employers added 528,000 jobs to the U.S. economy in July.

3.5%: The unemployment rate fell to 3.5%.

5.2%: Wages rose 5.2% over the past year

The Good

The headline from July’s jobs report is the news that after 2.5 years, the U.S. economy has recovered all of the jobs lost early in the pandemic. As the Wall Street Journal reports, this marks the fastest job growth at any point after WWII. The strongest growth took place in the leisure and hospitality; business and professional services; and education and health services sectors. The unemployment rate also fell back to the historic low of 3.5% that we saw right before the pandemic.

The Bad

Despite the good news in July’s report, there is one concerning number. The labor participation rate fell again to 62.1%. As MarketWatch reports, experts would expect the labor participation rate to rise in a strong jobs market, as abundant job openings draw more people into the workforce, especially as there are currently more job openings than there are people looking for work. However, most of the decrease is concentrated in the youngest and oldest workers,  those 16-24 and those over 65. This suggests that young workers heading back to school and the retiring baby boomer generation could be behind the drop.

The Unknown

As the New York Times reports, July’s impressive job growth indicates that the U.S. has not entered a recession, despite the fact that the country’s gross domestic product has contracted for the second consecutive quarter. This shows that the economy is withstanding the impact of the Federal Reserve’s aggressive interest rate increases. Economists expect job growth to slow down later in the year as interest rate hikes start to make an impact.

Talking Talent: Reducing Unconscious Bias for an Inclusive Recruitment Process

In this episode of our Talking Talent podcast, we hear from Simon Wright, Global Head of Talent Advisory, about tactics to reduce unconscious bias and make your recruitment process more inclusive.

Unconscious bias affects us all. In the two years since the death of George Floyd, public consciousness around the issues of diversity, equity and inclusion has risen throughout the globe. As such, employers can no longer remain silent. 

Not only are investors and shareholders paying greater attention to social challenges, but employees, candidates, and consumers are also pushing businesses to make public commitments regarding diversity and inclusion—and to publish their progress. In today’s job market, where job vacancies are outpacing unemployment, candidates have more choices than ever about where to work—and they’re choosing employers that prioritize DE&I: According to Glassdoor, 76% of candidates said that a diverse workforce was an important factor when evaluating companies and job offers. 

Unconscious bias is one of the key forces holding employers back from making strides in DE&I initiatives, and it’s a complicated issue to tackle. In this article, we’ll walk through the different types of unconscious bias, how they can affect your recruitment process and how to effectively reduce their effect.   

What is Unconscious Bias? 

What is Unconscious Bias?

Unconscious bias—sometimes called implicit bias—is a term that describes the associations we hold outside of our conscious awareness. Everyone has them, and they don’t make you a bad person; they’re an evolutionary adaptation designed to help our brains make decisions.  

Imagine if, every time we made a decision, we had to consciously take into account every piece of information available to us. Unconscious bias develops from our life experiences to help us navigate the world more quickly. However, it can also have negative consequences. And, the fact that it happens unconsciously means it can be difficult to bypass.  

For instance, in action, unconscious bias can look like what happened in the Boston Symphony in 1952. The Symphony was looking to diversify its male-dominated orchestra, so it conducted an experiment with a series of blind auditions. In an effort to remove all chance of bias and allow for a merit-based selection only—a selection that would hopefully increase the number of women in the orchestra—the musicians would be auditioning from behind a screen. To their surprise, the initial audition results still skewed male. Then, they asked the musicians to take off their shoes. The reason? The sound of the women’s heels as they entered the audition unknowingly influenced the adjudicators; once the musicians removed their shoes, almost 50% of the women made it past the first audition. 

This is just one example. There are several different types of unconscious bias that affect our decision-making: 

Confirmation Bias 

Confirmation bias causes us to seek out information that confirms something that we already believe. We hear about this type of bias most often in relation to politics. People are more likely to seek out positive news about the candidate they support, reenforcing their belief that they are supporting the right person. It can also play out in the hiring process. Recruiters and hiring managers can make snap decisions about candidates based on perceived truths. Then, they ask questions to try to justify these biases, rather than evaluate each candidate on the same criteria.  

Affect Heuristics 

Affect heuristics are mental shortcuts we take to make decisions based on our emotional or mental state, rather than taking all of the facts into account. In the recruitment process, this could play out with a recruiter or hiring manager discounting a candidate because of personal feelings that have nothing to do with the role. For example, if you used to have a friend named Pete, who you fell out with, you might still carry a negative bias toward a candidate named Pete. 

Anchor/Expectation Bias 

An anchor or expectation bias happens when we allow ourselves to anchor on to one piece of information to make a decision. This can happen in the hiring process when a hiring manager believes that a new hire needs to be a carbon copy of the person who used to have that role, so they anchor on one aspect of a candidate that is similar to the previous employee and ignore other information. 

Halo Effect 

The halo effect is a bias that causes us to use a general positive impression of someone to influence how we evaluate their specific attributes. For example, if we’re impressed by one fact about a person (like if they went to a prestigious university), that could make us see them in a generally positive light. The halo effect often kicks in when we wish we were more like another person. This plays out in the hiring process when a hiring manager or recruiter focuses heavily on one positive aspect of a candidate’s background and lets that guide their opinion moving forward.  

Horn Effect 

The horn effect is the opposite of the halo effect; it happens when we let one perceived negative aspect of a person influence the way we think about them. For instance, something as simple as not liking a candidate’s outfit or the way they speak can cloud a recruiter’s or hiring manger’s judgment during the recruitment process and be difficult to get past. 

Affinity Bias 

The affinity bias causes us to connect with people who are similar to us. This is different from the halo effect because it happens when we identify a similarity with someone, rather than looking up to them. We like the feeling of affinity because it makes us feel connected and part of a community, and we also want to surround ourselves with people who we feel we have rapport with. In the hiring process, this can lead to teams with little cognitive diversity as recruiters and hiring mangers lean toward candidates similar to themselves.  

Conformity Bias  

In essence, conformity bias is peer pressure. It causes us to rely on the opinions of others when making decisions, rather than making an independent choice based on our own interpretation of the facts. This can kick in when making the hiring decision: If you’re on a panel and you think one candidate is really great, but the rest of the group prefers someone else, you could get swept along by the majority. 

Contrast Effect/Judgement Bias  

The contrast effect happens when we compare two similar things to each other, rather than assessing them independently. During the recruitment process, this can happen when a recruiter or hiring manager compares one résumé or CV to another they viewed before. In doing that, they shift the goal posts; instead of judging a candidate based on their suitability for the role, they make a decision based on what they thought of another candidate. 

Combating Unconscious Bias 

Unconscious Bias

Understanding the different types of unconscious bias is only the first step toward reducing its influence on your organization. And, while training can raise awareness, it rarely changes behavior. So, to make a real change, employers should implement a robust diversity and inclusion program that touches every aspect of the hiring process. Following are some proven steps you can take to reduce bias.  

1. Clearly Outline the Role 

Taking time to really understand what the role requires is essential for weeding out bias in the recruitment process. Specifically, by identifying eight to 10 objective criteria that are predictive of role success, you’ll decrease the likelihood that decisions are made using unconscious bias. It’s important to evaluate what it takes to be successful in the role. Is there anything that could stop a candidate from applying? Does the role need to be performed in person or can it be done remotely? Are the criteria you’re using accurate predictors of success? Are you relying on the vague concept of “cultural fit” that breeds affinity bias? 

As an example, some of the big four accounting firms have reduced their reliance on academic achievement for their early careers and campus hiring programs because they know it’s not an accurate predictor of future success in the role. Instead, they’re now focusing on potential by using other measures that they’ve tracked over time to show their effect on performance. 

2. Build an Inclusive Job Description 

Once you’ve outlined your role internally, focus on your external job description. Is there anything that could discourage a strong candidate from applying? In particular, remove gendered language from your job descriptions and check the pronouns you’re using. Additionally, avoid words like “expert,” “superior” or “rockstar” that turn off female candidates. A variety of online tools can help highlight and remove biased language. 

Next, ensure that the requirements that you list for the role only cover what is absolutely necessary. Women are less likely than men to apply to a role if they don’t feel that they meet all of the requirements, whereas men are more likely to apply if they only meet a portion of them.  

Finally, when creating a job description, ask multiple people from different backgrounds to review the job description—and take their feedback into account.  

3. Update Your Screening Process 

The next area to consider is your selection process. Are you relying too much on résumés and CVs? Research shows that CVs are not only fraught with bias, but that they’re also bad predictors of success. That’s because there are many factors on a CV that can trigger unconscious biases, like the person’s name (gender or ethnicity), the school they went to (geography or economic class) or the year they graduated (age).  

For example, according to the National Centre for Social Research, people with white-sounding names are nearly twice as likely to get callbacks for jobs than people with ethnic-sounding names. In their study, job applicants with white-sounding names were a significant 74% more likely to be invited to a job interview compared to applicants with an ethnic/minority-sounding name. 

4. Rethink Your Interviews 

Recruiters and hiring managers often rely heavily on interviews, which can be rife with unconscious bias. On top of that, interviews have a predictive power of 56%, according to Don Moore, a professor at the University of California, Berkley. That means that, if you’re making your decision based on an interview, you’ll make the wrong decision nearly half of the time.  

Plus, most interviews are conducted one-on-one or with small groups, where bias can flourish. However, mixed panels with diverse interviewers and objective criteria used to assess each candidate can lower the risk of bias when compared to traditional interview settings.  

Meanwhile, there can be an increased risk for bias in the new world of virtual interviews, as well. That’s because, when interviewers can see the inside of a person’s home, they can make unfair assumptions. So, if you use video interviews, ask candidates to blur their backgrounds. 

It’s also important to standardize your interview process so that all candidates are evaluated on the same criteria. This helps you avoid the contrast effect where you only compare candidates to each other, rather than against an objective set of criteria. And, to further reduce the chance of bias, reduce the power of the interview. Can you add other assessment techniques, instead, like work simulation tools or sample tests? 

5. Formalize Your Decision Process 

The final piece of the recruitment process is making a hiring decision. Don’t just get together at the end of the interview and say, “You know, I think John was really great,” or “There was just something I really liked about Kathryn.” Conformity bias can play a strong role in these types of discussions.  

Instead, have your panel step away individually, reflect on each candidate and score them based on your objective criteria. Then, you can review those scores as a group and discuss what you learned about the candidates during the recruitment process.  

Defining Success 

Because unconscious bias is so deeply embedded in all of us, it takes the efforts of everyone to reduce it. However, reducing bias in your recruitment process is a long-term commitment and not something that can happen in three or six months—or even a year. Rather, it involves backing from across the organization and all the way up to the leadership team. It also requires hiring managers to really engage with the process and be willing to give up making “gut decisions.” Finally, it also calls for a clear picture of where you want to go and how you’re going to monitor, measure and communicate success.  

Learn more about how to evaluate your program and progress in our ebook, “Progress in Action: Moving Toward a Globally Diverse and Inclusive Workplace.”