Unconscious Bias and Tips to Avoid it

We all make judgments and assumptions based on several factors like gender, intuition and even appearance. Some bias is inevitable but at the same time it is important to avoid it as much as possible, especially for hiring teams and the recruiters. It is imperative and the part of their job to “judge” the candidates to get the best possible talent but, it must be on the basis of skill and proven professional successes.

Here are some tips on how to avoid Unconscious Bias:

  1. Identify the nature of bias:

The best recruiters and hiring teams are always aware of the different types of bias. Some common types of bias are:

  • Confirmation Bias: This occurs when someone creates a hypothesis in their mind and looks for ways to confirm their preconceived beliefs. Organizations may decrease their chances of making a great hire due to confirmation bias.
  • Effective Heuristic:  This is a technical term where a person is judged on superficial factors like weight or even a visible tattoo.
  • Expectation Anchor:  This bias occurs when there is some sort of favoritism for a candidate. This clouds the judgement of the interviewer and makes them feel that the candidate is more suitable for the job than others.
  • Intuition: This is about making a judgement call based on a gut feeling. Before a hiring manager meets a candidate, they should be aware of this bias so they keep an objective mindset during the interview.
  1. First impression is not the last impression:

Contrary to the myth, hiring managers should make a deliberate effort to wait until the end of the interview process, take the time to review the facts, before making a hiring decision. This can help avoid any first impression bias.

  1. The more the better:

To avoid any unconscious bias, hiring teams should have multiple people assigned to the interview for multiple opinions. This empowers the recruiting team to have multiple viewpoints and ultimately get the best talent for a position. After a healthy discussion, the team may vote on which candidate they feel best fits the job.

  1. Mapping out a standard process:

It is difficult to derive meaningful results in this dynamic and always changing process. The hiring team can avoid unconscious bias by standardizing the hiring process which can then be used for each interview.  A standardized rubric can be chalked to assess the combination of attributes (skills, experience, cultural fit etc.) that helps in determining whether the candidate is an appropriate fit for the company.