This is how you prevent unconscious discrimination during job interviews

Tamara van Ark, state secretary of Social Affairs, turns against discrimination at the labor market fiercely. She thinks it is intolerable that potential employees get discriminated by a company during a job interview. That is why her team is intensified, she said at BNR News Radio. There will be sturdy fines for felonies, even if they are committed unconsciously.

Better safe than sorry, as the saying goes. So how does a company prevent fines for unconscious discrimination against applicants?

Unconscious behavior

It often goes wrong during job interviews. That is a known fact. Think of discrimination in age, discrimination because of pregnancy or discrimination based on background: ”It’s not always about unwillingness. It is often about ignorance,” said the Minister of State on the radio.

As an example, she told a story about a young mother with an impressive career who told her supervisor about her pregnancy. Suddenly, the tenor changed, the woman received substandard performance interviews and a bad rating. Goal? To disadvantage her compared to candidates that aimed for a higher position just like her.

Other examples of discrimination are resumes with a date of birth far from the twentieth century. Or a last name that hints at a migration background. Some vacancy texts are surprisingly steering: without consciously writing it, without real interest in knowledge and capabilities of the candidates.

Mandatory policy

This has to change, states the Minister of State. That’s why ”ignorance” with felonies should be tackled. The inspection SZW gets the jurisdiction to control companies on being conscious about discrimination. Van Ark is clear: ”If you receive a fine, it’s the sum of what is going wrong. The amount of money can rise to hundreds of euros, but sometimes even thousands of euros.”

So extra money for the inspection is available and the control team is expanded. Moreover, the Cabinet wants to oblige companies to create a policy to prevent discrimination at the labor market. In order that people will be rated on their talents and that they can show all their possibilities.


Nowadays, applying for a job ”blindly” is seen as the solution. Luckily, it doesn’t have to be this way. That’s why I plead for further personalization of recruitment. Every ”talent acquisition manager” or ”recruitment strategist” is proud of the ultimate ”candidate journey”. This sounds nice. But do also create a journey for the candidate: exactly tailor-made, adjusted to someone’s wishes and expectations.

This approach requires a radical, but small adjustment in the recruitment process. Stop with craving piles of resumes. Do not reject anyone dismissively. Because you will lose this person as possible ambassador and future client of your company instantly.

What else? Get in personal contact with all applicants by inviting everyone for special ”recruitment meet-ups”. In a joint ”game session” (or Gamification), candidates will be playfully asked about their goals in life.

Why do they work? What is the reason behind getting out of bed every morning to invest valuable time in a company? Next, you challenge them to solve current issues from daily practice together. That is groundbreaking.

We support companies to create these enthusiastic sessions. And we help them to design vacancies from A to Z in an innovative way. After a year of experimenting, the advantages are visible. You get to know people personally. You see how they work together. You get response from the current labor market.

Moreover, the lead times of vacancies will be shortened by 60 percent and the costs for recruitment of external companies will be reduced by half. Another advantage? This policy nips discrimination in the bud, a guarantee on the absence of unexpected fines.

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Recruitment is aan het veranderen van skills naar purpose driven. Het gaat om de mens: van #humanresoures naar #humanrelations.

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