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Ditch Unconscious Stereotypes to Recruit the Best Medical Sales Reps

It’s safe to assume the majority of recruiters were confident bias would be removed from the workplace by 2020. But here we are — and stereotypes still plague the recruitment process. 

A July 2019 study by Wharton, for example, found that for jobs in STEM fields, women and minority candidates with 4.0 GPAs were treated the same as white male candidates with 3.75 GPAs.

Similarly concerning, the 2019 Hiscox Ageism Workplace Study revealed employers paid $810.4 million to settle age discrimination charges filed with the EEOC between 2010 and 2018. That’s just with the 40% of those who experienced age discrimination filing a charge or complaint. 

Stereotyping issues have long plagued minority employees. However, as you know, your role in delivering a diverse pool of candidates is important to all clients. Companies looking for medical sales employees specifically need teams of all ages, genders, ethnicities, and walks of life to connect with customers. 

The question then remains — with all the research and understanding, why do stereotypes still exist in recruitment? 

Many experts blame affinity bias, which is the idea that recruitment decisions are influenced by stereotypes and outdated values buried deep in our psyche. As a result, even top recruiters have the capacity to make poor decisions. 

Decrease your risk of stereotypes impacting the recruitment process with these tips to place top medical sales reps: 

Evaluate your own unconscious biases

Like unconscious bias, affinity bias means there’s no active awareness of which recruitment decisions are based on damaging stereotypes. The oldest medical sales candidate in your current pool, for example, may be the most qualified and best-fitting for a client. However, personal experiences with early retirees (deep down in the psyche) could leave you leary of their long-term dedication. 

The nature of these stereotypes requires intentional self-evaluation. Write down your immediate thoughts of each candidate during review processes. It’s imperative that you’re honest and do not attempt to filter your first-impressions. With your true reactions, you’ll have the information needed to take action against underlying stereotypes. 

Review your notes to expose common assumptions. Do you assume an extrovert is more capable of closing a deal than an introvert? Do you automatically think a male will better adapt to a client’s culture? 

Once you’re aware of internal stereotypes, reconfigure your impressions. Evaluate medical sales candidates solely on their merits. Now, note their merits, personality traits, and experiences that make them right for clients’ opportunities. This will get you on a path of unbiased assessments, rather than comparing and contrasting candidates. 

Standardize the recruitment process

Evolving first-impressions of candidates is just one step toward greater medical sales candidate diversity. In reality, you can’t divulge and resolve every affinity bias you have now or will acquire. That’s where evolving technology plays a huge role in reducing stereotypes.

Updated technology increases opportunities for an overall standardized recruitment process. Gender-Decoder, for example, helps structure job descriptions by removing subtle gender-coded language. Also, incorporate tools that offer the standardized questions in the same format to candidates, such as one-way video interviews.  

Aside from tools, incorporate standardized processes into your own recruitment practices. Sit down with your team and clients to create questions for each open role. Use them as a strict template to guide you through interviews. 

Then, use a predetermined assessment sheet with a five-point grading system to score each candidate. As candidates’ responses are scored on the same questions, you’ll find it easier to fairly evaluate who is the right sales rep for each client. 

Review previous successful placements

Reevaluate your recruitment process frequently. Review previously placed candidates who have become successful medical sales employees. 

Sit down with clients to discuss what traits, skills, and experiences they believe made their employee the best candidate option. Also, consider discussing the same with those previously-placed candidates. Ask why they’re satisfied, what makes them feel equipped for the role, and what traits they believe help them connect with clients. 

Use these insights to update your application and evaluation materials. Base future decisions for each client on the factual information you’ve gathered to ensure you’re placing only the best medical sales reps.