The benefits of a diverse and inclusive workforce are well documented. But perhaps your company hasn’t figured out how to actually hire a diverse workforce.

Part of the challenge is that the human mind is designed to be biased. We categorize things as an adaptive strategy to move through the world where we are bombarded by a constant stream of stimuli. But this survival mechanism also tends to create biases. We are all biased in some way and because we are not able to see our own biases, we have to take deliberate steps to counteract them and to create systems that will circumvent this natural tendency and create equitable opportunity.

In this article in Forbes, the author outlines two approaches to achieving a more equitable hiring process.

Minimize Bias

We can’t fully get rid of bias, but we can take action to minimize it.

Creating a standardized hiring process assures that all candidates are treated equally. The same is true for establishing clear, objective hiring criteria. By being specific about job responsibilities, expected outcomes, and skills, hiring criteria can be more clear and objective and less bias prone.

Crafting the job description to weed out coded language is an effective tool for minimizing bias. Words like “energetic’ can deter older job seekers from applying. Masculine phrases may deter women applicants. In addition, don’t add “nice to have” skills to a job description. Stick to what is required to succeed in the position to encourage all applicants with the requisite skills to consider applying.

When reviewing resumes, have language that indicates race, gender, socio-economic status, or age redacted. It helps limit unintentional bias and allows you to focus on job-specific skills. Make sure to have a diverse hiring team at all phases of the hiring process to help counteract bias.

Have people from different backgrounds individually assess candidates. Create a standardized interview using objective metrics. Ask the same questions of everyone and score them with a predetermined rubric.

Correct for Bias

Since we can’t truly weed out all bias, we should try to correct for it. Develop diversity targets that can be measured and compared. Develop metrics for each stage of your hiring process. Identify what is working and where improvement is needed. Keep track of the numbers to guide future efforts.

Seek out a diverse candidate pool through communities that value diversity. Be wary of relying only on employee referrals, as they tend to be more homogenous. Look for small groups and niche job boards rather than the large-scale general jobs boards to post listings.

Set inclusion targets and give underrepresented groups a boost during hiring. Done properly with the intention of increasing diversity in your company, this is a legally sanctioned way to help those groups get a foothold in the workforce.

There Is No Finish Line

Workforce diversity is not a box to check or a class to attend. It requires ongoing commitment and attention. You don’t have to do it alone, though. Consider working with a recruiter who can guide you through the process of attracting and hiring a more diverse workforce. These professionals can often see the biases in your company that no one on the inside can identify. Working with a trusted recruitment professional will move you more quickly towards a diverse, productive workforce.