We all make decisions every day. Did you know that our conscious and unconscious biases often shape these decisions?
The people around us, the media, and society at large can influence how we think and subconsciously shape our biases. In the workplace, biases in hiring can be harmful, especially when it could entail disregarding a candidate’s qualifications and skills because of certain stereotypes. After all, it could hurt an applicant’s ability to land a job they’re qualified for.
Hiring bias may cause you to miss out on great hires and reduce company-wide productivity and efficiency.
Examples of Unconscious Biases In Recruitment
Here are 16 common biases that you should be wary of during recruitment:
Also known as “similarity bias”, this type of bias tends to favor those part of the group than members who are not. In turn, it could cause favoritism. When hiring, HR should be more objective when screening and evaluating applicants.
The proximity bias in the next big challenge for hybrid and remote teams. Biases related to proximity and distance are more common during COVID-19, especially in the Philippines, where 64.2% of work-from-office HR admins predict that hybrid workspaces are the future.
Distance bias favors those within proximity to their leaders (say, reporting for on-site work) compared to those who work remotely and may have trouble traveling to the office. Overcome this is to assess candidates on their qualifications rather than their location or workspace preference.
This bias involves making assumptions about a candidate and misleading the interview process to confirm these preconceived expectations and beliefs. Avoid treating applicants unfairly by staying objective at all times.
Looks can deceive, so it’s never a good idea to judge a candidate based on outward appearance. That where beauty bias comes in, which involves judging a candidate and giving them a positive rating because of the way they look. A way to overcome this is through blind hiring.
Halo & Horn Effects
You’re guilty of the Halo effect or “angelic effect” if you tend to focus on the positive attributes and disregard the rest of their background. Meanwhile, the Horn effect involves sticking to a one-sided view and concentrating solely on a candidate’s negative traits. Instead, adopt a neutral attitude.
Choosing one candidate over another based on preconceived notions about their age or gender may cause you to miss out on great hires. Pay attention to a candidate’s resume and qualities, and let go of stereotypes that could color your perception of certain applicants.
Like the horn effect, reactive devaluation is a hiring bias that happens when you immediately underestimate or reject a candidate based on negative feelings or distrust. Instead, acknowledge your initial impression and take the time to get to know the candidate better to confirm these views.
Recruiters who fall victim to this bias tend to overestimate their abilities to choose qualified candidates. As a result, they could form incorrect insights about a candidate. We recommend disassociating any external personal feelings when conducting interviews and keeping the hiring process as objective as possible.
Sometimes, body language speaks louder than words. However, forming a half-baked opinion of a candidate based on their posture or the way they shook hands with you during the interview can do more harm than good. Avoid misunderstandings and be wary of non-verbal biases when hiring.
Social Comparison Bias
This bias describes the tendency to show disapproval or competitiveness for a person who seems more qualified than the actual recruiter or interviewer. Instead, focus on how the candidate’s competencies can help your company instead of making comparisons.
Also called the “judgment” bias, where interviewers judge and compare candidates based on their merits and qualities. The contrast bias is counterproductive because instead of assessing whether an applicant is qualified for the role, we compare them to another candidate instead.
Status Quo Bias
This type of bias tends to be shaped by emotions and preferences because of the current status quo. Letting this influence your hiring process could result in a workplace where employees think, feel, and act the same way.
Instead, you need to embrace diversity and inclusivity and recruit fresh, unfamiliar faces who are both qualified and capable.
If you tend to make mental shortcuts when making decisions because of your emotions, you’re guilty of this hiring bias. Taking the easy route during recruitment leads to an incomplete analysis of job applicants and poor hiring decisions. Overcome this hiring bias by adopting a non-discriminatory attitude when evaluating applicants.
As the name implies, this type of bias means anchoring your expectations to a small fact we know about a candidate. In turn, it could lead to unfair decisions down the line. That’s why HR admins should maintain an impartial mindset during interviews.
No one wants to be left out, and some recruiters may sway their opinion of a candidate to match the majority’s opinion. During the hiring process, this can skew your perception of the interview and give candidates an unfair advantage.
Selective Perception Bias
Selective perception bias involves choosing certain pieces of information and disregards other facts about a candidate. This gives an unfair advantage, so HR should stay objective as much as possible.
How to Reduce Bias in the Hiring Process
Until you acknowledge that there’s an issue and have proactive discussions about addressing these biases, diversity in your organization will stay elusive. We’ve listed some best practices to help you below:
- Acknowledge and proactively address biases. Hold internal meetings and communicate common recruitment biases and how to avoid them.
- Standardize recruitment practices. Consider revising existing HR policies and implementing new ones to prevent prejudice and favoritism towards applicants.
- Diversify your workforce. Cast a wider net when hiring. Be open to candidates from different demographic backgrounds, religions, political affiliations, and sexual orientations.
- Separate feelings from facts. Be objective. Don’t let your feelings or opinions cloud your judgment.
- Thoroughly assess candidate resumes. Focus on qualifications and must-have skills that translate to more efficiency and productivity.
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