Is Bias Undermining Your Hiring Process?

Is Bias Undermining Your Hiring Process?
From Recruiter - February 11, 2017

Ive interviewed a lot of people in the course of my career. As a former recruiter for a growing Chicago Inc. 500 recruiting firm, I could practicallyinterview people in my sleep!

I conducted so many interviews it got to the point where I could read someone and determine whether they were right for the role and client in just a few minutes. At that time, one could say I was very skilled at interviewing.

Over the course of my professional development, Ive also learned a great deal about how the mind works, especially as relates to perception and interpretation, both consciously and subconsciously.

There is absolutely no doubt that we all have developed lenses or filters through which we view and interpret every experience in life. These lenses or filters create biases. Unfortunately, interviewers cant automatically turn off their filters when they sit down in front of candidates.

Common Forms of Bias

So, what might interview bias look like? The HR department at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts (UNCSA)posted a listwe all could learn from on the topic. Some ofthe biases included on the list:

First Impression Error

UNCSA says: The interviewer makes snap judgments and lets his or her first impression (either positive or negative) cloud the entire interview. Example: Giving more credence to the fact that the candidate graduated from the interviewers alma mater than to the applicants knowledge, skills, or abilities is an example of the first-impression error.

Negative Emphasis

UNCSA says: Rejecting a candidate on the basis of a small amount of negative information. Research indicates that interviewers give unfavorable information roughly twice the weight of favorable information. Negative emphasis often happens when subjective factors like dress or nonverbal communication taint the interviewers judgment.

Halo/Horn Effect

UNCSA says: The interviewer allows one strong point that he or she values highly to overshadow all other information. When this works in the candidates favor, it is called the halo effect. When it works in the opposition direction, with the interviewer judging the potential employee unfavorably in all areas on the basis of one trait, it is called the horn effect.


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