10 Unconscious Biases In Hiring You Need To Be Aware Of
Many things in life are inevitable and one of them is biasedness. An inclination to a certain preference that either brings us comfort or benefits. Even though this trait can be changed with realization and self-training, it is present and very real even in today’s professional world. This biasedness is also present in interviews as well as hiring processes. And most of the time, it is done without even knowing.
So how then do we not fall into such unconscious prejudice and instead, leverage it to our advantage and shine during the hiring process?
Here are 10 common unconscious biasedness everyone should be aware of and utilize them and take it in your stride.
As humans, we are all comfortable to be surrounded by people who are similar to us. It gives us a sense of belonging and assurance. Thus, in turn, recruiters will tend to stay away from those they feel are different and unconnected to them.
Very similar to similarity attraction, affinity bias is making decisions that include factors the hirer feels connected to. For example, the same race or gender, the same town or city they grow up in as well as hailing from the same institution. This makes them feel as if the candidate is highly relatable and has also walked in his or her own shoes to understand their position.
A very common yet superficial bias is a beauty bias. As they say, “beauty is in the eye of the beholder”. Making a decision solely based on looks with the perception that good looking people tend to be more successful in business as well as in life in general.
This bias happens when recruiters or hiring managers concentrate too much on a single factor that he/she neglects on all the other characteristics of a candidate, both the positives and negatives. This, in turn, create a tunnel vision that might implicate a good choice when making a hiring decision.
A bias that usually happens when there are a few interviewers in the same sitting. One might favor a certain candidate, having the perception that the candidate has potential. But when they hear that the other interviewers have a different opinion, they tend to back off and conform to the viewpoint of the majority.
Intuition is a very critical skill for survival, like following gut feelings for example. But sometimes, with the presence of unconscious biasedness, humans might make wrong choices on the decisions they make. Same for hiring and interview situations, where one puts their judgment only because intuition tells them to.
This is one of the most natural biases for those vetting through a few collections of interview data at one given seating. We tend to pit candidates against each other and see the contrasting characteristics amongst them. By doing this, instead of seeing individual talents independently, that might highlight the strengths of the person, it becomes a battle of who is better than the other.
Just like many biasedness in the list, the halo effect is made when one only uses a positive trait to override everything the candidate has. For example, a potential interviewee is a charitable person, thus he/she spends a lot of time and money contributing to society to bring good to the world. In turn, they neglect all the other attributes one has.
An opposite from Halo Effect, this time the negative trait is focused on, creating a bad light that trumps any good the person has to offer. A very bad bias as it creates a blind eye to any potential the candidate can bring into the company that might be useful.
Just like an ostrich who hides their head in the ground, (Fun Fact! This is a common misconception as the ostrich bird do not actually do this, it is just a long-running legend that everyone uses as an example) the person who decides the verdict turns a blind eye towards any negatives the situation shows. It may seem similar to the Halo effect, but instead of riding on one good trait the person has, the ostrich effect totally blocks out even the tiniest viewpoint of negativity. The example best used here is when someone is trying to get a person close to them (family or friends usually) hired into the organization.
After discovering all the biasedness that might be present, how can we then counter the effects of unconscious biasedness during the hiring process?
We can do so by making sure the person that is interviewing us is trained in this field, make decisions based on real data and evidence instead of personal assumptions as well as being transparent and open during the interview process and even after that.
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