5 Top Ways to Avoid Racial Bias in the Job Interview Process
Updated: Feb 21
Did you know racial discrimination is sadly all-too-common during job interviews?
Medium reports that many interviewers ask racially-weighted questions or judge interviewees unfairly based on their race: for example, asking questions about when their families immigrated to the US.
Studies have also found that employers unfairly judge the physical appearance of the people they are interviewing. For instance, Perception Institute found 20% of black women feel social pressure to straighten their hair for work, while only 10% of white women do.
If you’re preparing for a job interview, how can you avoid or limit the experience of being discriminated against as much as possible?
Apply to jobs that welcome diversity
You can tell whether some employers are inclusive simply by looking at their website. Randstad notes, “Companies provide information about their inclusivity initiatives and approach on the company website. If they are transparent about their diversity program, it’s a good sign they take it seriously and are taking steps to improve.”
However, be aware this is not a foolproof strategy for finding an employer free from implicit bias. The Harvard Business School explains, “Employers claiming to be pro-diversity discriminated against resumes with racial references just as much as employers who didn’t mention diversity at all in their job ads.”
Prioritize jobs that do skills assessments
Skills assessments are a quantitative measure, so they are less susceptible to bias than more qualitative interview questions. Forbes observes, “Employment skills tests open the door for a more diverse set of employees.
Rather than relying on subjective measures, employers can leverage skills tests and the resulting data to objectively identify candidates who possess the needed skills to excel in a position.” If you are asked to do a skills assessment as part of a job application, you can feel more confident you will not be confronted with racial bias.
Search for jobs that provide a salary range
If you are looking through job ads online, look for ads that list the job’s salary range. When a job ad lists a salary range, this “reduces the likelihood that hiring teams will have unconscious bias impact the hiring process during salary negotiations”, according to mya.com. Knowing the job’s salary range can make you feel more confident before you go into the job interview.
Try a new hiring platform
GeekBidz is a new direct-to-hire job platform that invites job seekers to do a skills assessment online. Then the platform uses AI to pair employers with the candidate most qualified for their job posting and allows the employer to invite the candidate to an on-the-job evaluation. This process effectively eliminates most of the steps in the hiring process where racial bias can occur, including interview questions. If you’re concerned about racial discrimination in the job interview, this platform might be a good option to try.
Ask the right questions during interviews
You may not be able to be sure a workplace is free from racial discrimination before you agree to a job interview, but at least you can ask the right questions during the interview, which will help you determine whether you want to work there.
Randstad advises, “The interview process is your opportunity to ask questions...Ask about their diversity initiatives, parental benefits, flexible work policies and other topics related to inclusiveness that are important to you.” If you find the interviewer can’t answer these questions in a way that resolves your concerns or doubts, that organization may not be the right place for you.
Learn to spot signs of racial discrimination before the job interview or try new ways of avoiding the interview process altogether.
Racial discrimination is sadly still not uncommon in the workforce today. If you’re concerned about racial bias as you prepare for a job interview, use our strategies for identifying jobs that promote inclusivity, or try emerging hiring platforms that allow you to avoid the job interview entirely.