How Can Interview Transcription Tackle Unconscious Bias?

Sep 10, 2020
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Interview bias has long been known as a driver of poor recruitment decisions. Savvy employers are trying to make changes in order to stamp out the potential cost of mistakes. They are exploring new technologies in order to try and combat bias; but unconscious bias remains a significant issue. Interview transcription can help to safeguard your business hiring managers and help to make interviews fairer. 

With more people applying for a limited number of jobs, HR departments are feeling the strain. Many businesses have chosen to invest in high-tech solutions in order to screen multiple candidates at a time. Video interviewing has become very popular, replacing the more traditional ‘meet and greet’ sessions. These videos will contain hours of recorded answers to pre-set questions. Many people have claimed that this process can help to eliminate unconscious bias, however – nothing can beat the written word, such as an interview transcription. 


So, What is Unconscious Bias?

Whether we like to admit it or not, we all form opinions (right or wrong) about other people. Shortcuts in our brains automatically make assumptions – this starts with first impressions. Think ‘appearances’ and then consider mannerisms, speech and personality. The sheer number of different ways a candidate can be discriminated against is huge. HR professionals cannot afford to let bias influence their hiring decisions. 

Unconscious bias is when a person makes assumptions that are not based on any evidence. People who make decisions based on unconscious bias will not be aware that they are doing it. Therefore, they make decisions – often very quickly – that are not influenced by hard facts. Unconscious bias can go against a perfectly suited candidate, and this could be a costly mistake to make. 


Interview Transcription Promotes Diversity

A diverse workplace is seen as being much more productive and successful. However, unconscious bias can leave many businesses without the diversity they need in order to grow and develop. This is where interview transcription can be invaluable. Without seeing a potential candidate, hiring managers can read responses to set questions and then make their decision based on facts. 


How Can Interview Transcription Improve the Candidate Experience?

Knowing that any statements they make during an interview will be read and not just listened to gives candidates more confidence in the hiring process. There are benefits to telling candidates that written transcripts will be used. It shows them that you are serious about hiring the right people. This improves the candidate’s overall hiring experience. They will know they are not being judged on the colour of their skin, gender, age, their accent or nervous mannerisms. Instead, the answers they give will be what is taken into consideration when it comes to the crunch.


Mistakes that Interview Transcription Could Have Stopped

Due to unconscious bias posing a serious threat to the hiring process, it is unfortunately a common problem. Here are some real-life examples of how unconscious bias can impact the outcome of a job application, career progress or retention:


Racial Discrimination – Employers and hiring managers must combat unconscious bias when it comes to ethnicity. The United Nations has warned that racism and religious intolerance has become more acceptable in the UK. It claims the toxic atmosphere has developed following the Brexit referendum. Keep that out of your business! Pay strict attention to interview techniques, screening and scoring. Use interview transcription to support your decision-making.


Disability Discrimination – Structured interviews that are transcribed before being scored significantly reduce the risk of disability discrimination. It is important also, to highlight that the purpose of the law is to assist disabled people and their primary carers to obtain work and to integrate them successfully into the workplace. That is not a matter simply of money, but the dignity of, and the respect due to, the people concerned.

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