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4. IMPLICIT AWARENESS TESTS
Two common forms of implicit bias
are a;nity bias and contrast bias,
which refer to having greater or less
comfort, respectively, with others
based on their similarities or di;erences from ourselves.
In plain speak, a white woman may
be more comfortable with, and therefore favor, another white woman over
a man of color. She will be aware of
the gender and race of the candidates
and might not realize how those factors in;uence her decisions.
To deal with this problem, some
employers give interviewers implicit
awareness tests to help individuals
uncover their unconscious bias.
These tests are problematic for
three reasons: • Their validity is questionable. • Even if the assessments have
some value in raising awareness,
an individual won’t really know
if unconscious bias is happening
in the moment because it is, by
de;nition, unconscious. • The tests create data that could
be used against the company in
So avoid implicit awareness tests,
but take other steps to mitigate this
form of bias.
Consider having a group of diverse
individuals interview candidates. We
are more able to see implicit bias in
others than in ourselves, and having
a team with a variety of backgrounds
increases the likelihood that the
candidate will be vetted based on his
or her merits.
5. DIVERSITY AS A BASIS
FOR HIRING DECISIONS
Even when your goal is
to increase diversity, you
can’t make hiring deci-
sions based on gender,
For example, suppose your orga-
nization wants to increase sales in
the Latino community. You could
make the ability to speak Spanish
fluently a job requirement. Yes,
more Latinos than non-Latinos
will likely apply, but by basing the
requirement on a skill, you won’t be
accused of excluding people based
on their national origin.
Jonathan A. Segal is a
partner at Duane Morris in Philadelphia and
New York City and a
SHRM columnist. Follow him on Twitter @