Skip to main content

With all the research and technology available to the general public these days, there really is no excuse for having inequitable hiring practices. We now know that humans are inherently biased, even unconsciously. So, many employers have been turning to pre-employment assessments to automate the filtration process rather than doing this by hand. But the reality is, even these assessments can be discriminatory against certain candidates. There are, however, ways of ensuring your hiring assessments are unbiased. You just need to know what to look for.

With this said, by no means are pre-assessments the end of all workplace discrimination. Unbiased pre-employment assessments are just one small (but crucial) step in making the hiring process more equitable. And truthfully, meaningful change takes time. So, let’s take the first step today; let’s talk about biased and unbiased pre-employment assessments.


Ways to Combat Your Hiring Biases

If you think that gender inequality doesn’t exist in the workplace in the 21st century, think again. In 2016, Harvard Business Review published an article titled “If there’s Only One Woman in Your Candidate Pool, There’s Statistically No Chance She’ll Be Hired.”

Then, in 2017, a Pew Research Center survey showed that “(42%) in the United States say they have faced discrimination on the job because of their gender.” These discriminatory practices ranged from treatment on the job to being overlooked for a promotion or even not getting the job at all.

Even in 2021, Forbes put out an article showing that women consistently receive fewer opportunities at work than their male counterparts. This means that even when women show great potential on the job, hiring/promotion biases continue to act as an obstacle in the workplace. And sure, these biases might not be (and usually are not) conscious. But nevertheless, they are restricting your organization from truly being accessible and diverse.

Simply put, it’s not enough to want to create a more diverse workplace. Biases (conscious and unconscious) will always influence human-made decisions in the workplace. And certainly, there are countless tools, specifically pre-employment assessments, that claim to make unbiased hiring decisions. But these practices may still be perpetuating biases!

In fact, many assessments do indeed rely on biases to make hiring decisions. And these biases may be restricting your candidate pools and preventing you from finding diverse team members (in terms of race, gender, age, ability, and more). Making sure your pre-employment assessments are indeed unbiased can then make sure your workplace is both a welcoming, inclusive, and safe one as well as a more dynamic one in terms of productivity, creativity, and innovation.


What Does It Mean to Have an Unbiased Hiring Assessment?

Unfortunately, you may have biased hiring practices even if you have the very best of intentions when it comes to hiring a diverse team and are using pre-employment assessments in an attempt to do so. Many assessments, in fact, have led to company-wide lawsuits for their discriminatory practices. And both Canada and the U.S. have employment equity standards, so if your pre-employment assessments are indeed inequitable, your entire organization may be in jeopardy.

Robert Dougan, expert in psychometric assessments and founder of RAD Potential Advisory Inc., argues that everyone who offers pre-employment assessments in fact have a duty to be following the laws mandated to protect workers. Instead of making hiring decisions based on resume claims or on a candidate’s intelligence quotient (IQ), Robert suggests using assessments that measure a candidate’s soft skills, like emotional intelligence.

This is largely because such standardized tests inherently discriminate based on genetic or environmental privilege. After all, IQ tests exclusively determine a person’s intelligence based on environmental and genetic factors—both of which favor privileged positions.

Emotional intelligence, on the other hand, measures, as George Vlahakis notes, a candidate’s potential for success based on their “ability to understand, use and manage emotions to relieve stress.”


Steps to Take To Ensure Your Hiring Assessments Are Unbiased

In order to ensure your assessment is equitable and even measuring the qualities necessary for your candidate to thrive in their position, you’ll need to ask yourself the following:

      ☑Is my assessment measuring only what is absolutely necessary to perform tasks related to the job?

Workwolf’s very own Stephen Brennan notes that, as top HR professionals across the U.S. and Canada will attest, “one of the gold standards of any assessment should be that it’s predicting on-the-job performance.” Standardized IQ tests, because of their nature, will inherently be flawed at doing so. So, these tests will most often (if not always) be both discriminatory and impractical.

      ☑Is my assessment measuring a worker’s qualities not based on privilege or racial, gender, sexual identity or able-bodiedness? (I.e, skills that are based on personality rather than privileged experiences such as workplace or academic experiences).

As aforementioned, many assessments such as the standardized IQ test prioritize those with the most privilege over others. So, make sure your assessment does not rely on eugenics or other discriminatory philosophies to narrow down candidate pools.

      ☑Is my assessment written and offered in an accessible manner? (I.e., is the language accessible in the assessment? Is it accessible online and compatible with assistive technology products?

There really is no reason for pre-employment testing to “weed out” candidates if the subject matter or language on the test is irrelevant to the job at hand. So, make sure the language and formatting used in the test is as universally accessible to all as possible.

With all of this said, these may not be as easily determinable or achievable without external help or guidance. Here’s where Workwolf can help!


How Workwolf’s Assessments Can Make Your Hiring Unbiased

Finding the right assessment can be a very tiresome and even scary process when so much is at stake. After all, a bad hire can be extremely costly. But finding even a good fit with an inequitable system, as previously mentioned, can be even more costly. The good news is, you can rely on Workwolf for an efficient and unbiased pre-employment assessment.

Workwolf’s very own Packfinder is a self-assessment built and supported by pre-employment experts at Self Management Group (SMG). Packfinder uses psychometric profiling, which measures a candidate’s likelihood to succeed in a job or role based on their personality and behavior within a workplace.

This means that the only qualities measured in candidates are those that are relevant to the job at hand. And as Stephen notes, “As long as the filters have been created based on on-the-job performance, there is no discrimination because the data to create the filter is performance-based.”

For example, Packfinder can help you narrow down a candidate pool for a high-pressure sales position based on a candidate’s comfort with conflict, self-motivation, and tendency to be challenge-oriented.

Crucially, Packfinder can ensure that your organization is practicing equitable filtering practices and that the benchmarks you use to filter candidate pools are relevant to the job at hand. After all, many people are coachable to an extent. But the more likely a person is to succeed in a given field based on already existing soft skills and behaviors, the better results you and the employee themselves will find.

But don’t take my word for it; find out for yourself! Sign up here for a free demonstration with a Packfinder expert and discover all it can offer you and your organization.


Don't leave empty handed! Try our AI Job Description Generator for free!
Get Started

[hubspot type="form" portal="6442116" id="dde7bdec-ea8f-48ef-9f15-40bca99c23bc"]

[hubspot type=form portal=6442116 id=57a7df38-6c62-4aa9-b774-1b02d71a39dc]

[hubspot type=form portal=6442116 id=da75ea5f-c238-4ac6-a699-f4d790a26635]