Ways to Avoid the Unconscious Bias When It Comes To Hiring

When wading through a sea of job applications, your conscious mind sets out to review based on an assessment of experiences and achievements, but in too many cases, there exists an unconscious bias that can not only prevent you from choosing the best applicants for the position, but also can also place your hiring decision under a legal microscope.

Unconscious bias is defined as an automatic, ingrained response that influences our behavior when it comes to our decision-making processes. It is important to realize that in a vast majority, these unconscious biases are unintentional and rarely come from a place of intentional malice or exclusion. Your unconscious biases are often formed from a lifetime of interpreting social cues and expectations. In fact, some of your unconscious biases stem from a desire to be surrounded with those you deem similar and comfortable.

However, those biases do prevent you from making the best hiring decisions. The first step to avoiding them is to understand a few of the different types of bias.

Affinity Bias

Affinity bias happens when you easily relate to, or empathize with, a specific aspect of an applicant. Whether this due to where they attended college or because they remind you of a family member, an affinity based on imagined connections can unconsciously steer your decision-making; for example, you may be more susceptible to coaching an applicant during an interview.

Similarity Bias

You are often your own greatest critic, and also your own biggest fan. Similarity bias can subconsciously guide a hiring decision based on your desire to be surrounded with those who remind you of yourself. This bias prevents you from exploring candidates whose personal experiences and history stray outside of your own comfort zone.

Confirmation Bias

Often be the most dangerous type of bias, confirmation bias is when you rely on your gut feelings. If you have a negative first impression of a candidate, you might spend the remainder of the assessment trying to justify why you had that bad feeling. Having an overly positive first impression may have the same bad effect on decision-making.

How to Fix Them

There are some incredibly simple ways to significantly reduce your unconscious bias in the hiring process. Enlisting others in the process ensures a level of insulation from personal biases shaping one person’s decision.

You can also look for ways to standardize your interview process. For instance, a set list of questions for each and every applicant can ensure that you are addressing the specific needs of the position and not trying to make the job “fit” your applicant.

Another effective strategy is to use an outside staffing agency. This ensures that applicants are solely judged on your needed criteria and not a perceived ability to fit your criteria.

Turn to the Expert Recruiters at LTI Services!

At LTI, we take methodical steps to eliminate bias from our hiring decisions and provide our clients with best-fit talent. Please contact us today to find out how we can support your company’s talent acquisition process.