Dr. Nicole Gravanga, PHD Aug 24, 2021 5:01:26 PM 10 min read

How the Right Interview Script Formats Improve DEI

An equitable environment is one of the most important workspace elements. Implementing DEI practices, policies, and strategies don’t just improve your business, it also allows you to attract top candidates, retain talent, extend your market, and improve revenue.

A structured interviewing process is an integral part of DEI implementation. Asking the right questions can help you make sound decisions and ensure diversity, equity, and inclusion without a forced effort.

Let's take a closer look at how a well-organized interview script format can help you improve equity-related tactics.

The Hidden Hiring Bias

Hiring bias is one of the major obstacles on the road to a diverse workplace environment. Even when interviewers and decision-makers understand the importance of DEI, they often can't avoid hidden bias.

Hidden or unconscious bias is much more prevalent than conscious prejudice. It often goes against a person's conscious beliefs and values. This type of bias can surface when a person is working under pressure or multitasking. That's what often happens during an interview.

Unconscious hiring bias comes in many different forms, including:

  • Recall bias - an interviewer who does not document every interview in real-time will be pressed to remember details about each interview after the fact. Relying solely on our memory causes us to only remember the details we liked about a candidate and not the relevant data to help determine if they are a right fit for the job.

  • Confirmation bias — an interviewer only processes the information that confirms their beliefs and overlooks everything else. Once the belief is confirmed, it becomes hard to dig deeper and look at other details

  • Affinity bias — an interviewer starts feeling positive about the candidate when they notice a similar or likable trait. This keeps the interviewer from making objective decisions about the candidate and hurts the chances of others.

  • Projective bias — similar to affinity bias, when the interviewer believes that the candidate shares their certain goals and beliefs, they start thinking that the candidate should be a good choice for the company.

  • Halo effect — when the interviewer sees that a person is extremely good at something, they automatically believe that the candidate should be just as good at other tasks. This keeps the interviewer from digging deeper to understand whether the candidate really has the necessary skills and qualities.

  • Pitchfork (horn) effect — this is the opposite of the halo effect. When the interviewer sees that a candidate is bad at something, they project it on other tasks without trying to figure out if the person can be good at something else.

  • Overconfidence bias — the interviewer is so confident about their ability to choose the best candidate that they fail to be thorough during the process and allow confirmation bias to take hold.

  • Expectation anchor — the interviewer creates a virtual anchor that keeps them from unbiased consideration of other candidates. For example, it can occur if you believe that the candidate should have the exact same qualities as the predecessor.

  • Comparison bias — when an interviewer has to work with numerous candidates, they tend to compare them to one another instead of figuring out whether the person is good for the job.

Once people know about the possibility of hidden bias, they work hard to avoid it. However, controlling the unconscious isn't always possible. Especially, if you have to make decisions under pressure.

How Interview Scripts Reduce Hiring Bias

Studies show that unstructured interviews often lack reliability for predicting job success. Interview scripts are a part of the structured interview process that helps reduce hiring bias and contributes to DEI in the workplace.

Standard Set of Questions

When hidden bias occurs, interviewers tend to avoid some of the questions because they unconsciously believe that they already have sufficient information about the candidate. This often happens when halo or pitchfork effects take place.

If you have a structured interview script, you make sure to ask each candidate the same set of questions. So if you unconsciously make a decision about an interviewee too early, their answers to the rest of the questions can help you change your opinion.

A standard set of questions for all candidates for the same position makes it easier for decision-makers to avoid different types of hidden bias.

Sufficient Information

An interview script allows the interviewer to gather as much information about the candidate as possible. The questions are designed before the interviewer sees the candidate, making sure that such aspects as appearance and affinity don't influence the process.

The gathered information makes it easy for decision-makers to choose the right candidates after the interview. This data helps leaders make decisions without relying heavily on the interviewer's opinion.

Less Pressure

Unconscious bias often occurs when interviewers are time-pressed or under pressure. Pre-designed interview scripts decrease the time it takes to conduct an interview. This reduces the pressure on the interviewer to finish the interview as soon as possible.

With sufficient time to evaluate the candidate, the decision-maker can reduce bias, ask all the necessary questions, and allow the interviewee to open up.

Overall, structured interviews with scripts can be twice as effective at predicting job performance as structured interviews. One of the main reasons is reduced bias.

Interview Scripts and Equitable Hiring

Equitable hiring is vital to the company's success. It also:

  • Contributes to an effective and diverse workplace environment.

  • Attracts top talent since candidates appreciate companies with DEI efforts.

  • Increases employee retention rate since diversity streamlines an appealing environment.

  • Broadens perspective since it provides access to diverse opinions and experiences.

  • Makes your company competitive and improves its bottom line.

  • Extends your market since diverse companies are 70% more likely to capture new markets.

Interview scripts are an excellent tool that helps improve equity. A set of predesigned questions can make sure your hires are equitable while being based on unbiased decisions.

Improve DEI in Your Workplace With Interview Scripts

While the importance of DEI is hard to overlook, designing practices to maintain it can be complicated. Battling unconscious bias can be tricky unless you consider the advantages of structured interviews.

By implementing interview scripts, you can reduce hidden bias, streamline the interview process, and improve the company's bottom line.

interviewIA is a powerful interview platform that offers a comprehensive question bank for your effective interview scripts. Would you like to learn more? Please contact our team at any convenient time.


Dr. Nicole Gravanga, PHD

Dr. Nicole Gravagna is trained as both a neuroscientist and an executive coach. Nicole blends neuroscience, behavioral economics, and organizational psychology into healthy human-centered design that drives business. She is well versed in venture capital and angel investing and is a co-author of Venture Capital for Dummies. Her second book was MindSET Your Manners, a guide for behavior change.