Supporting Black Workers During The Hiring Process


A recent study shows that applicants with Black names are 2.5x less likely to be called for an interview than an identical resume with a “white-sounding” name. With James more than twice as likely to get a callback than Jamal, in order to support Black workers and close the Black employment gap, changes need to start at the beginning of the hiring process. How can you confront your bias?

Our Adecco team offers some insights.

March 3, 2022
Future of Work
Inclusive Futures

1. Understand, don’t ignore, your biases

Unconscious biases can cloud our judgment, yet they’re impossible to control. Harvard Business professor Francesca Gino writes that these biases "cause us to make decisions in favor of one person or group to the detriment of others,” posing a real threat to the hiring process.
And biases dis-proportionally affect Black Americans during interviews. One study found that Black workers were rated lower on soft skills like motivation and work ethic regardless of work experience. With soft skills becoming increasingly important since the COVID-19 pandemic, this leaves the average Black American unemployed or underemployed. To correct this and make more Black hires, managers and HR professionals need to educate themselves on their own biases through awareness training. By crafting an organizational conversation about bias, your managers can think of their own solutions to minimize their effects – solutions they can actually enforce.

2. Offer objectivity with skills testing

Incorporating a skills test or work sample test into the interview process allows your hiring managers to be objective rather than forming opinions about applicants from just their interview answers and appearance. This gives Black Americans a better shot at a position in your company. Changing your hiring approach to be skill-based can also encourage more minority direct hires. With white candidates 14% more likely to have a bachelor’s degree than Black candidates, by dropping educational requirements in favor of skills assessments, companies like Google, Apple, and IBM have increased their numbers of Black workers. Follow Equal Employment Opportunity Commission guidelines to develop your own job-specific tests – some off-the-shelf tests can actually be biased against minority groups.

3. Work with a recruiter

It’s a recruiter’s job to find the right person for a job – regardless of race. By partnering with a recruiter who works with resumes and job candidates every day, you can be sure that the right person is recommended for a position based on skills and not bias. Recruiters can also help with diversity pledges, combing through extensive databases to find the right minority workers to diversify your workforce. Recruiters aren’t just for temporary jobs anymore. With Adecco’s SEARCH team we’ll help you find diverse direct hires for permanent placements in your company. With seven areas of expertise and a catalog of skilled talent, we’re making long-term commitments to increasing diversity and opening doors previously shut by racial biases. By working with a recruiter to fill permanent placements, you’ll not only add to the number of minority workers in your company but diversify your working environment, allowing every voice to have a real impact on your organization and advance to leadership positions.