Piloting of new "Understanding unconscious bias at interviews" scheme

As part of our Athena Swan Equality, Diversity and Inclusion activities, IHW is piloting a new scheme to evaluate our job interview processes, with a particular focus on unconscious bias.

Photo of woman completing an application form

The Unconscious Bias Observer (UBO) pilot is based on a successful scheme that has helped to improve the recruitment process in the Department of Chemistry at the University of York since 2015.

The UBO lead from York has trained 13 volunteers from IHW to act as observers during the pilot. We are hoping that each volunteer will get the opportunity to observe two interview panels between now and December.

What the UBO scheme involve?

One of the trained volunteers will receive the recruitment paperwork for the role in question, and then observe both the shortlisting process and the interview panel.

The observer will take detailed notes to highlight examples of good practice and any suggestions as to how things might be done differently in future. These will be fed back to panel members and anonymised versions collated centrally to inform a report on the scheme with recommendations for future roll out. N.B. all feedback will be treated confidentially.

Why is this scheme important?

Interview panellists and observers who have taken part in the UBO scheme have found it a positive experience. At York, the scheme has helped to increase awareness of unconscious bias and Equality, Diversity and Inclusion throughout the Department of Chemistry and it has promoted networking between colleagues and job families. The scheme is also a really good professional development opportunity for both PS and ECR staff members, and IHW is delighted to be able to pilot it on behalf of the university.

What happens next?

We would ask that any line managers who are about to commence any recruitment please let us know at ihwadmin@glasgow.ac.uk. We will pass info on to the UBO IHW lead, Cindy Gray (cindy.gray@glasgow.ac.uk) who will be in touch with you to provide further detail of the scheme and assign an observer for your shortlisting discussions and interview panel.

Should you have any queries please contact Cindy directly


First published: 2 May 2018