Post doc interviews in the life sciences may promote bias

Post-doctoral training is a critical career stage for researchers in the life sciences yet interviewing for a post-doctoral position is largely an unregulated process. Without regulation, interviews are susceptible to unconscious biases that may lead to discrimination against certain demographic groups (e.g., women and minorities). Using data from an online survey of post-docs, we show that interview procedures for post-doctoral positions in the life sciences are correlated with several factors (e.g., candidate demographics) in ways that may bias the outcome of interviews. We discuss key components of interviews and suggest that conducting standardized, well-planned interviews that are less susceptible to unconscious biases may help increase the retention of women and under-represented minorities in the life sciences.

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