Recruiting Strategies: Avoiding Bias
Over the years, with the establishment of recruiting strategies and employment laws, companies have proactively fought against the existence of discrimination in their hiring practices. Despite these efforts, much still needs to be done to combat the less publicized instances of workplace discrimination and the biases that exist in the recruitment and selection process. The recruitment and selection process should be consistent with each candidate objectively assessed against the justifiable requirements of the job. Selection should be based on merit. All those involved in assessing candidates should be trained on the content of employment law, in non-discriminatory interviewing practices, and on the frequent biases that occur in the recruitment and selection process.
Strive to be as objective as possible during the interview and as you create your short list of ideal candidates for final selection. More than one person should be involved in short-listing candidates. Biases can affect the selection of an employee in ways that are easily observable once you know what they are.
Here are eight potential biases to avoid:
Judging prematurely based on appearance, demeanor, voice, or handshake. Basing your decisions on the impression a candidate made in the first few minutes of an interview does not give the candidate the benefit of the full interview to explain their qualifications and expectations.
Attributing unsubstantiated characteristics to a particular group of people. When you stereotype, you assume that an applicant fits a certain model without actually evaluating that individual.
Over-generalizing and being biased towards a candidate who has characteristics that you particularly like, while disregarding other qualities in other candidates that may meet the job’s requirements.
The tendency to evaluate a candidate in comparison to something other than the predetermined, objective criteria. Avoid measuring a candidate against the last person interviewed, who may have been over or under qualified for the position.
Searching for any negative information to disqualify a candidate purely as a means of distinguishing among well-qualified candidates. When you employ this tactic, you give undue influence to a negative factor that may not be significant in determining potential performance on the job.
Attributing our own motives to others. The tendency is to feel most comfortable with similar people and, therefore, to screen out diversity. It is important to distinguish a valid criterion of interpersonal skills from judgments of personal style.
False Objective Indicators:
The tendency to seek information that appears to be objective (number of years of experience, for example), when it may not truly be a valid predictor of an individual’s performance or truly necessary for job success.
The tendency to favor recent candidates over those interviewed earlier in the process. When you favor recent candidates, you overlook qualified candidates who meet the requirements but who are simply not fresh in your memory.