How to avoid unconscious bias with skills-based testing

4 minute read

Posted by Emily Hill on 18 December 2023

Unconscious bias can subtly seep into the recruitment process, but it significantly compromises the fairness of hiring practices. In this article, we’ve explained how skills-based testing helps to avoid unconscious bias.

What is unconscious bias?

Operating beneath our awareness, unconscious bias shapes decisions without our realisation. Rooted in implicit preferences and stereotypes, it influences decision-making without conscious awareness. These biases, spanning factors like race and gender, affect hiring decisions, promotions, and workplace interactions. ThriveMap identifies 16 types of unconscious bias, shedding light on the complexity of these influences (Read more about them here).

4 ways skills-based testing helps to avoid unconscious bias

1. Rethink CV screening

Skills-based testing can help avoid unconscious bias by eliminating CV screening. This strategic move aims to circumvent bias influenced by factors such as background, education, and experience. There are inherent limitations of relying on CVs, particularly in the assessment of essential skills for entry-level roles.

Beyond mitigating bias, shifting away from relying on CV screening also addresses a practical concern—CV screening often consumes excessive amounts of time for the recruiting team. By bypassing this traditional method, recruiters not only enhance the fairness of their evaluations but also streamline the hiring process, ensuring a more efficient and effective approach to candidate assessment.

Best practice pre-hire assessment process

2. Conduct job analysis

In the quest to mitigate unconscious bias in the hiring process, a pivotal step involves defining the actual skills needed for a role through job analysis.

Leveraging tools like Signal, recruiters can seamlessly survey current employees, ensuring a nuanced and accurate understanding of the skills necessary for the job. By aligning the skills sought with those genuinely required, this approach not only ensures the recruitment of candidates with the right skills but also enhances accuracy and consistency in the hiring process.

This strategic use of job analysis becomes an invaluable tool in promoting fairness and objectivity, steering the recruitment process away from the subtle influences of unconscious bias.

Try Signal here:

The Signal logo

3. Leverage Realistic Job Assessments

Harnessing the power of Realistic Job Assessments is a strategic move aimed at reducing unconscious bias in the recruitment process. ThriveMap’s assessments offer a unique day-in-the-life perspective, evaluating candidates based on the actual skills crucial for the role. By immersing candidates in realistic scenarios, these assessments provide a fair and unbiased evaluation of their abilities, minimising the influence of preconceived notions.

Additionally, the accompanying analytics tool adds an extra layer of objectivity, simplifying the selection process by pinpointing candidates whose skills align most closely with the job requirements. This approach not only ensures a more accurate assessment but also contributes to a more equitable and bias-free hiring process.

Explore the transformative impact of Realistic Job Assessments at

4. Navigate the ‘Black Box’:

If you’re currently using AI or another type of assessment, exercise caution with tools that use ‘black box’ data to automate hiring decisions, as they may inadvertently perpetuate bias.

Regular audits become essential to uphold fairness and prevent discrimination, particularly when relying on data from successful candidates that might not accurately represent the broader population. This commitment to transparency and accountability ensures that the assessment tools used in the hiring process are continually evaluated for bias, contributing to a more equitable and unbiased recruitment environment. Read more on this here:

Build a fairer process with skills-based assessments

Mitigating unconscious bias in recruitment is not just a moral imperative but a strategic move toward building a workforce that is representative and inclusive. This journey requires a meticulous examination and transformation of each hiring stage, with skills-based testing emerging as a cornerstone in achieving a bias-free recruitment process.

For best practices to skills-based recruitment, access ThriveMap’s high-volume recruitment playbook. The playbook includes a step-by-step guide to planning, building and designing a best practice workflow for common high-volume roles such as contact centre recruitment, graduates, retails, and hospitality hiring. Access it here:

Alternatively, book a demonstration of ThriveMap’s skills-based assessments here:


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About ThriveMap

ThriveMap creates customised assessments for high volume roles, which take candidates through an online “day in the life” experience of work in your company. Our assessments have been proven to reduce staff turnover, reduce time to hire, and improve quality of hire.

Not sure what type of assessment is right for your business? Read our guide.

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