Hiring Process

Business 101 Comprehending: The Importance of Unconscious Bias in the Hiring Process

Several studies have shown that hiring processes are affected by the recruiting professionals’ unconscious biases by a significant margin. Unconscious bias in the hiring process happens when the hiring team forms an opinion about the candidate based on their preconceived notions about their initial impressions. 

candidate based on their preconceived notions

Unconscious bias is something that the person isn’t aware of. Some people have biases based on race, gender, ethnicity, age, and sexuality without realising it. In contrast, others are biased towards people from a certain academic or social background, class, and interests.

If a person prefers a candidate over others due to reasons that are irrelevant to the expertise and educational requirements of the job, then it means they have unconscious bias. In some cases, a candidate is preferred over others simply because they give the impression that they’d be easy to hang out with. 

It is also considered unconscious bias when candidates are filtered out in the recruitment process’s initial stages based on their names, resume pictures, hometown, school name, etc. In conclusion, unconscious bias is a phenomenon that affects a person’s decisions based on factors irrelevant to the position’s requirements. 

Let’s learn about the different types of unconscious bias commonly observed in hiring processes!

Types of unconscious bias in the Hiring Process

Apart from gender, ace, and age bias, the following are the common types of unconscious biases observed in workplaces:

  • Confirmation Bias

Confirmation bias is when a person quickly forms a concrete opinion about someone based on a single factor. As a result, they assess the candidate based on that judgment to confirm the beliefs that they already hold about them. This puts the candidate at an advantage as their relevant qualities get overlooked completely.

  • Overconfidence Bias

This type of unconscious bias is also similar to confirmation bias. When a recruiter is overly confident in choosing the right candidate, they fail to make an objective assessment of each candidate and make the decision that feels right to them. 

  • Bias as a Result of Contrast Effect

This type of unconscious bias is also called judgment bias. It comes into effect when a recruiter compares a candidate with the candidate who came before them instead of assessing their resume and abilities independently and comparing them with the position’s requirements. 

  • Beauty Bias

A recruiter has a beauty bias if they prefer a candidate over others based on their physical appearance. Instead of assessing candidates based on the position’s requirements, a candidate is preferred for their “beauty.”

How to Address Unconscious Bias in the Recruitment Process? 

Identifying and then trying to eliminate unconscious bias in your recruitment process is extremely important. It gives all the candidates a fair chance and benefits your organisation when a candidate who is the right fit for the job is hired. 

  • Understand the Existing Biases and Prejudice

The first step involves identifying and understanding the existing unconscious biases in the hiring process. It is important to have conversations around this subject and involve everyone responsible for handling the recruitment process’s different stages. When there is a healthy conversation around this subject, people will become more aware of their own unconscious biases and eliminate them.  

  • Review and Redesign the Hiring Process

To provide an even playing field to all the candidates, it’s important to review and revise your overall hiring process. Try to eliminate the procedures that perpetuate unconscious biases. Consider incorporating digital solutions and running resumes through software that filters candidates based on factors that are explicitly relevant to the job. 

You can also consider incorporating a work sample test in the process. Instead of assessing candidates based on their resumes, you can test their skills in real-time, giving them tasks similar to what their position requires. Then, you can compare candidates based on how they perform these tasks. 

Unconscious bias impacts the hiring process significantly, and you can manage it by identifying it and then addressing it with tangible solutions.