Discrimination in hiring – examples and how to prevent it

Hiring discrimination - examples and how to prevent it

When looking for a new job, discrimination in hiring can be an undesirable problem that can even affect the company’s productivity.

According to a McKinsey study A study conducted in Latin America found that employees who work in companies that embrace diversity are 150% more likely to show creativity and initiative in the workplace. For many years, it has been a known fact that diverse teams are more productive discrimination in the workplace . To ensure that your organization is free from any form of employment discrimination .

Recognizing discrimination in hiring

Hiring discrimination occurs when an unfair hiring decision is made based on a person’s skin color, religion, sexual orientation, place of origin, age, or genetic makeup. Discrimination on the basis of disability and racial bias can also constitute discrimination in employment.

(1) "refrain from hiring or firing any person or otherwise discriminating against any person with respect to his or her compensation, working conditions, or privileges employment because of such person’s race, color, religion, sex, or national origin; or

(2) restrict, segregate, or classify its employees or applicants employment in any manner that deprives or could deprive any person of the following rights employment opportunities or otherwise adversely affect his or her status as an employee because of a person’s race, color, religion, sex, or national origin".

Examples of discrimination in the setting

Examples of workplace discrimination in recruitment :

  • Direct discrimination – the poor treatment of a particular person based on certain characteristics. This may include gender discrimination, race discrimination or age discrimination .
  • Indirect discrimination – introducing rules or policies in the workplace that discriminate against people with certain characteristics, even though they are aimed at all workers
  • Unintentional discrimination – based on unintentional prejudice, e.g. B. When someone uses an offensive word to describe a person of a different ethnic or cultural origin without realizing that they are being offensive. This can still result in a discrimination claim .
  • Harassment – intentionally creating a hostile environment for those who exhibit certain characteristics.

Discrimination vs. Harassment – how is it different?

How do we define harassment? It refers to "behavior that demeans, humiliates, or embarrasses a person and that is characteristically characterized by its improbability in terms of social and moral appropriateness. In the legal sense, these are behaviors that appear disruptive, disturbing or threatening".

While harassment can be considered a form of discrimination, there are some differences. Harassment is a bias (based on gender, race, age, etc.), which manifests itself in interpersonal relationships in the workplace. Discrimination is more tangible; it is also bias, but it is expressed through formal employment policies and measures, making it easier to observe.

Examples of harassment and discrimination

To clarify the difference between these two phenomena, let’s have a look at some examples. Imagine you are a woman and are invited to a business meeting that happens to be dominated by men. One of the male participants makes an inappropriate comment about your outfit – this could be considered harassment. Suppose you are a job applicant placement careers job posting for a junior developer, but you could not apply because the job was restricted to a certain age group. younger worker – could this be considered discrimination just because you are an older worker . Therefore, denying any older applicant the chance to have an equal opportunity . In the next section, we will provide examples of what constitutes a discrimination case .

Examples of Hiring Discrimination

Now that we’ve covered how discrimination differs from harassment and discussed the different types of discrimination, let’s look at some examples.

Discrimination through a job advertisement

Despite anti-discrimination laws worldwide, one still occasionally finds job descriptions that exclude certain applicants. Most of the time, a job posting can be tailored:

  • Direct discrimination against certain candidates, d. h., the ad text indicates which gender, race, age, or other criterion is critical or undesirable. Below is an example of age discrimination – the ad directly excludes anyone over 27 from applying:

And here is an example of gender bias:

Unconscious bias

Sometimes a job advertisement may be intentionally designed to discourage certain applicants . For example, a job posting aimed at anyone born after 2000 could only be posted on the brand’s TikTok account. Perhaps it could contain cultural references that might confuse someone from an older age group. The job ad might also imply that the rest of the team is "young", "Dynamic" and "energetic" Is. Conversely, if an employer

Interviewer bias

As humans, we all have personal preferences. Unfortunately, this can also affect our objectivity towards applicants. Certain hiring managers may exhibit behaviors that indicate a conscious or unconscious bias against a particular applicant. This means they might reject a candidate for any reason other than their skills or personal attributes required for the job.

One such example is the interviewer asking tougher questions or giving a particular candidate a more complex hiring task than other candidates.

Hiring software automation bias

Since software is created by humans, it is not always free of bias. For example, a recruitment tool you use might be designed to filter out candidates who have had a break in employment of at least six months. As a result, you may not receive applications from candidates who have taken parental leave.

Targeted job ads

Online job portals and social media may entice you with umpteen filters that allow you to target very specific candidates. However, you need to be careful when defining your ideal candidate profile. In 2019, Facebook – along with 66 other companies – were accused by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission of discriminating against certain groups in their job postings. Therefore, make sure you don’t follow in their footsteps! We’ll discuss how in the next section.

Tips to combat discrimination in hiring

Here are a few effective ways to stamp out hiring discrimination at your company:

Tip 1: Use job sample tests

If you are a tech recruiter, we highly recommend using work sample coding tests to eliminate unconscious bias. When a candidate applies for a job, send them a recruiting task and you can review the best tasks from the entire applicant pool. This way, you filter out the individual best-qualified candidates, regardless of who they are. Work sample coding tests are also one of the best predictors of employee performance.

Tip 2: Anonymize reports on recruiting jobs

Once you have filtered out the best candidates via work sample tests, you can anonymize the candidate report results before sharing the report with the hiring manager. This way, early in the hiring process, you also eliminate any bias from the rest of the team.

Tip 3: Be mindful of the language you use

As you saw in the previous section, the language you use can make your company appear discriminatory. Avoid references to age, gender, or race, and be sure to use gender-neutral terms (z. B. Instead of "his/her" "her/him").

Anonymize reports on recruiting jobs

Tip 4: Be careful with recruiting software filters

As mentioned earlier, you can use certain recruiting software and job portals to target very specific groups of candidates. However, if you are not careful with the criteria you use, you could end up discriminating against people with a certain age, race, gender, or other important criteria. This not only means discriminatory practices, but also that you may be missing out on highly qualified candidates.

If your job is office-based, it’s perfectly fine to set the location filter. However, be careful with filters that refer to something that has nothing to do with skills and decisive personality traits.

Tip 5: Train HR professionals to recognize (and avoid) discrimination in hiring!)

Train recruiters to recognize (and avoid!) discrimination in hiring

Last but not least, make sure your HR managers are trained to prevent and recognize discrimination in the workplace. You can make reasonable adjustments to your work environment so that you can accommodate employees

As stated in Forbes "a diverse hiring team that has gone through diversity training understands the importance of a diverse workplace and the impact it has on [the] company’s successes".

Tip 6: Ask the right questions in the job interview

Using a list of questions allows you to structure your soft skills interview and get to know the candidate better. To stay on the same level with all candidates, you should use the same questionnaire. We have prepared 45 behavioral questions for use during non-technical interviews with developers to help you do this.


Hiring discrimination is not an abstract concept, but an urgent problem that needs to be recognized and eliminated. Any respectful brand should ensure that their hiring process is free of any discriminatory hiring practices and that no candidate is discriminated against based on gender, age, race, religion, etc. is disadvantaged.

There are a number of best practices that companies can implement to ensure that their hiring process is as objective as possible. This includes anonymizing applicant data at the screening stage, using friendly and bias-free language in recruitment ads, and training HR managers or recruiters to quickly identify and get rid of discriminatory hiring practices. Eliminating discrimination in the workplace allows you to hire the best candidates based on their suitability for the job, not personal preference.

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