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6 Books to Help Hiring Teams Control Bias

Have you ever been trained on how to hire someone? Think about it…

Doesn’t it usually happen this way?

  • You’re sitting at your desk one day when your boss asks you to sit in on an interview for a new position the company is hiring.
  • You get a sheet with questions to ask and you skim over the qualifications outlined in the job description.
  • Your pen tries to keep pace with the candidate’s voice as you take notes diligently.

At the end of the interview, the team debriefs. You’re expected to share what you liked and disliked about this person you just met.

If you haven’t been trained to distinguish what matters in a candidate, how can you provide feedback that isn’t rooted in your own biases and personal experiences?

You aren’t alone.

One-third of employees don’t receive formal job training for the positions they hold. So it isn’t too far-fetched to assume even more have never received training to help their managers and peers select a good person to fulfill other positions within the company without becoming subject to bias. Most hiring teams just flat out aren't prepared to control biases during an interview.

It’s no wonder organizations struggle to find the right people to add to their roster.

According to executive director of The Broad Center and author of Mastering the Hire, Chaka Booker, companies don’t always need formalized, expensive, and time-consuming trainings to prepare hiring teams to allow each candidate a fair interview.

He recommends selecting a diverse range of reading material for hiring teams to review prior to interviews. Whether the material is about the impact of bias in an interview or the types of skills and characteristics that hiring teams routinely overlook, it will expand interviewers’ minds so they’re more understanding of the value people who don’t look, act, or think like them could bring to the table.

Leadership Essentials editor, Gabrielle Reed, compiled a list of some of our best books for hiring teams who strive to create a diverse and inclusive environment at their companies.

6 Books All Hiring Teams Should Read

1. People Styles at Work...and Beyond: Making Bad Relationships Good and Good Relationships Better

Author(s): Robert and Dorothy Grover Bolton  

This is the StrengthsFinder and Enneagram of getting along with anyone at work...

People Styles at Work has been read by more than 200,000 people, and for good reason! Based off of a groundbreaking collection of studies from the 1960s, cofounders of a leadership coaching and training firm Robert and Dorothy Bolton developed the People Styles Model to help employees understand where they fall on the continuum of responsiveness and assertiveness and determine whether they are Analytical, Driving, Amiable, or Expressives. Using this information, members of hiring teams can channel their enhanced level of self-awareness during an interview to recognize how they come across to the candidate and to read the candidate’s body language and behavior to identify the best ways to communicate with them.

Read an excerpt from People Styles at Work here.

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2. Black Faces in White Places: 10 Game-Changing Strategies to Achieve Success and Find Greatness

Author(s): Randal D. Pinkett, Jeffrey A. Robinson, Philana Patterson

With African Americans remaining underrepresented in many areas of business across a wide range of industries, it becomes necessary to explore how this particular demographic approaches success in the current workplace environment. When hiring teams read Black Faces in White Places, they’ll discover the unfortunate truths most African Americans have been told about their prospects in American business: “to succeed, you’ll have to work twice as hard as everyone else.” It is with this lens that Randal Pinkett writes about his experience as a contestant on Donald Trump’s The Apprentice and the “game” of professional life for African Americans that was revealed to him during the show. Through this book, individuals who are part of the hiring process will be able to examine the 4 dimensions of the contemporary black experience that drive motivation and, ultimately, success: identity, society, meritocracy, and opportunity.

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3. Perfectly Able: How to Attract and Hire Talented People With Disabilities

Author: Lighthouse International

The unemployment rate among people with disabilities is almost double that of the unemployment rate for the United States as a whole. It’s so difficult for disabled people to find an employer that will hire them that oftentimes, they don’t disclose their disability to increase their odds of landing an initial interview. In Perfectly Able, Lighthouse International makes the case for why diversity initiatives should include disability as a goal of their inclusive practices. Leaders will learn high level actions they can take like bringing in a disability awareness trainer, while employees will learn how to identify the aspects of disabled candidates’ experiences that will help them thrive in the company. If you’re a member of a hiring team who wants to hire the best people, regardless of any disability or diversity issue, this book includes principles you can apply to any candidate so that you can embrace differences and help your company hire the best person for the job.



4. The Introvert’s Edge: How the Quiet and Shy Can Outsell Anyone

Author: Matthew Pollard

There are two people in this world: extroverts and introverts. The latter faces many challenges on their way to the top of an organization, which sometimes manifest themselves during an interview. Whether you’re hiring for a job in sales or another type of customer-facing role, it’s easy to fall for the wide eyed, auctioneer speak from a charming to the bones extrovert. But Matthew Pollard (a.k.a. “The Rapid Growth Guy”) reveals in The Introvert’s Edge the multitude of ways the quiet and shy achieve the success you want from them in a manner that matches their personality. Learn the tools introverts use to sell themselves (they’ll probably use them on you in the interview!) and prepare yourself to extract the potential that gets suffocated by an introvert’s shaky confidence.

Read an article from the author of The Introvert's Edge here.



5. The Gumbo Coalition: 10 Leadership Lessons That Help You Inspire, Unite, and Achieve

Author: Marc Morial

Hiring teams play an important role in fostering unity within their workplaces. Each person on an interviewing panel must understand the value of bringing diverse people with different perspectives onto a team. There’s no better book to show interviewees the real-life change and challenges that tend to follow diversity and inclusion efforts than The Gumbo Coalition. Based on the experiences of former mayor of New Orleans and current president and CEO of the National Urban League, Marc Morial, The Gumbo Coalition guides hiring teams through lessons like making good decisions under pressure, showing strength through compassion, and building networks with intention. If Morial could attract an NBA franchise, multiple Super Bowls, and the largest African American event, the Essence Festival, to one of the most diverse cities in the nation, individuals on hiring teams can learn how to attract people unlike them to their companies during interviews. Learn what it means to be a leader who can unite voices and create meaningful change in The Gumbo Coalition.



6. The EQ Interview: Finding Employees with High Emotional Intelligence

Author: Adele Lynn

Emotional intelligence is the difference between “I should do this” and “I could do this.” It’s a skill that requires analytical processing of emotional situations so you avoid doing or saying something you’ll regret. Naturally, this is a sought-after quality in new hires, and also one many hiring teams are not trained to recognize. Adele Lynn addresses this common conundrum in The EQ Interview, which provides 250 behavior-based questions for interviewers around 25 core competencies related to emotional intelligence. Readers will learn how they can analyze and interpret answers to predict a candidate’s level of emotional intelligence, and even how to spot “EQ frauds” to avoid costly hiring mistakes. This is a great resource to read before you walk into an interview where you are responsible for assessing the responses of a candidate for a quality as vital to the workplace as emotional intelligence!



Gabrielle Reed

Editor of HarperCollins Leadership Essentials.

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