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ABI - Removing unconscious bias from the recruiting process

Category: training, Recruitment, ABI, Association of British Insurers, Changing Recruitment, unconscious bias, recruitment process, recruiting

Diversity and Inclusion


Unconscious bias can be known to creep in when reviewing CVs and hiring teams can (unintentionally) make decisions on who to interview based on details that, when you really think about it, tell you very little about how good someone is going to be a job.

In 2017, the ABI started working with Applied, a recruitment platform that uses behavioural science to remove unconscious bias and improve predictive validity in hiring. It helps us find the best person for the job, irrespective of their background. This not only is much fairer and more inclusive for our candidates; it also helps us make good decisions on who to interview and ultimately hire. Aware this was a new way of recruiting for both us and our candidates, we started to use the system for all our entry level recruitment. The results were encouraging – happy candidates, happy hiring managers and promising levels of diversity in our talent pool.

Fast forward to the end of 2020 and we’ve done away with traditional CVs and cover letters all together and have moved all our external recruitment over to Applied. As well as making sure our hiring processes are even more inclusive, it’s also opened up new talent we might not have thought of interviewing. We’re now getting to meet people who, based on CV alone, may not have been selected for interview as their experience was in a totally different field – or they may have appeared too junior or over-qualified for the role. Our method of recruiting levels the playing field for everyone and that makes for a better experience for all involved.

So, what does the process of applying to the ABI look like?

  • Firstly, we’ll ask you around 3 application questions. These questions are designed to show your understanding and interest in the role and demonstrate the key skills needed to do the job well. If we’re expecting a high volume of applications, we may also ask a multiple-choice question which gets straight to the behaviours/skills we’re looking for from candidates.
  • Once the deadline has passed, a team of ABI colleagues will score all the applications against set criteria. We don’t know anything about the person who has submitted the answer and we all score independently of each other. This is to remove the potential for unconscious bias in the process and ensure we focus on the things that really matter for the job.
  • From there, we’ll meet the highest overall scoring candidates for interview, regardless of what’s on your CV. It varies depending on the level of the job, but you can generally expect a two-stage interview process with a task done at the first stage. As ever, we score every answer to set criteria independently of each other to ensure fairness and objectivity.

Continuing to build and maintain an inclusive work culture is a huge priority for the ABI and our recruitment process is just one part of that. If you are applying to work with us, you can be assured we’re doing everything we can to level the playing field for all candidates.

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VERCIDA works with over one hundred clients who are committed to creating an inclusive work environment. If you are an employer and interested in working with VERCIDA to promote your diversity and inclusion initiatives and attract the best candidates, please email [email protected] for more information.

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Association of British Insurers

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