SFU Library

January 23, 2018 | February 7, 2018


(A) Disrupting Unconscious Bias in Recruitment
Seminar/Workshop (90 min)
Jan 23: 12:30 PM to 2:00 PM  | Feb 7: 8:30 AM to 10:00 AM


All leaders are faced with the critical responsibility of acknowledging and disrupting bias. This session establishes a foundational understanding of how bias affects decision-making and explores the impact of three kinds of bias that impact selection processes: implicit or unconscious bias, cultural bias and systems bias.

With a specific focus on bringing awareness to and disrupting unconscious and cultural bias in the recruitment process, this session will provide an understanding of how biases are formed in our unconscious, and specifically addresses four kinds of unconscious bias that affect recruitment: This session covers:

  • Affinity bias
  • Confirmation bias
  • Social comparison bias
  • Attribution error

This session will also introduce how dominant culture shapes our expectations of candidates, influences our sense of “fit” and can result in overlooking diverse candidates who might present confidence and other non-verbal cues differently.

In advance of the session, participants will be invited to take at least two Harvard Implicit Association Tests (IATs), available free online at: https://implicit.harvard.edu/implicit/canada/selectatest.jsp 

Advance Homework

The session will review participant IAT results and provide them an opportunity to share 2-3 key points from either the video or article they engaged. Lastly, this session will discuss strategies for recognizing and disrupting the unconscious and cultural bias which tend to occur during the recruitment and interviewing process.

As an opening activity, participants were invited to share a response to the question, "If you had a magic wand, and could solve the Library's recruitment challenges, what would that look like?" Below are notes taken from the roundtable responses. 

Responses from January 23rd session. 

Responses from January 23rd session. 

responses from february 7th session. 

responses from february 7th session. 


(B) Real-Life Implications of Diversity & Inclusion on Recruitment 
Conversational (60 min)
Jan 23: 2:00 PM to 3:00 PM | Feb 7: 10:00 AM to 11:00 AM

The following segment is a reflection on the previous material and facilitates a difficult conversation about the implications of creating a recruitment process that is designed to intentionally disrupt implicit and cultural bias, and encourages the hiring of under-represented groups. Beginning with opening comments submitted online, this session might include: 

  • Personal challenges in standardizing the interviewing process
  • What interview questions filter out diversity
  • How to look for values-alignment, but remain open to difference.

Perspectives of the Culture at Work

In this portion of the training I covered different ways of talking about diversity and shared a framework around three different kinds of diversity: legacy diversity, acquired diversity and thought diversity. This framework and the corresponding image below are from a 2013 Deloitte Insights article, Diversity's new frontier Diversity of thought and the future of the workforce




(C) Systemic Change Toward Greater Inclusion in the Recruitment Pathway
Workshop (60 min)
Jan 23: 3:00 PM to 4:00 PM | Feb 7: 11:00 AM to 12:00 PM

This workshop is focused on analyzing the pathway through various stages of recruitment and professional advancement and their impact on the successful hiring and retention of specific equity-seeking groups. This activity-driven session brings together the previous content around cultural differences and implicit bias, and examines the assumed benefits and potential hazards of self-identifying in an equity-seeking group.

The activity involves mapping the recruitment pathway from the inception of the job to the end of a six-month probation period, while also developing an ideal candidate profile. This hypothetical candidate is then taken through the pathway to determine where they are likely to be met with barriers to being hired or retained.

Above: mapping of recruitment pathway for both sessions combined. This will be converted into a spreadsheet. 

Recruitment Rubrics/Matrices for Search Committees

A significant part of the discussion was focused around the use of recruitment rubrics or matrices. Pre-determined highly structured hiring criteria have been shown to reduce and disrupt unconscious bias during the interviewing process. Below are some sample rubrics used by other universities. The following link from UNC Charlotte, provides eight different examples of rubrics :


Below are examples from various universities: 

Have a burning question or concern? Share it in advance. Anonymous questions are welcome.