Biases Affecting Hiring Decisions

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Many employers and interviewers don’t realize how easily they can fall into the trap of interviewing bias. In order to have interviews free of discrimination, managers need to receive training, especially if they want to avoid discrimination claims. Along with avoiding any claims training can help interviewers hire the right candidates. Below are a few examples of common biases.

  • Stereotyping. Making generalizations about how a person appears, thinks, acts, feels, or responds based on their sex, religion, age, race, or etc is stereotyping. An example of this is concluding a woman would prefer a teaching job over a construction job.
  • Inconsistency. If an interviewer were to ask different individuals varying questions for the same position that would be an inconsistency. An example of inconsistency is if Hispanic candidates are bilingual and not asking Caucasian applicants.
  • First Impression. First impressions are key because they’re lasting, but that can be an interviewer’s downfall. If the interviewer forms an opinion based on the first thing they notice about the applicant they may miss out on future cues that point to the applicant being a good fit or not.
  • Halo/Horn Effect. This effect is similar to the bias of a first impression. The halo effect is when the interviewer notices one good trait and favors the applicant. The horn effect is when the interviewer notices something negative and immediately disqualifies the applicant because of it.
  • Contrast Effect. When an interviewer compares the candidates instead of seeing how they’d perform based on the job requirements it’s called the contrast effect. Many interviewers fall victim to comparisons because they want to see which applicant is the best of the group. The mistake there is if the group is mediocre and the best candidate of the group only appears qualified because his or her competition is lackluster.
  • “Similar to Me”. When an interviewer is able to relate with the candidate on a personal level they can make the mistake of choosing the candidate based solely on that fact. When that happens the interviewer doesn’t evaluate the candidate based on whether they’re a good fit for the job or not. An example of this is the interviewer hiring the candidate because they went to the same college.
  • Cultural Noise. Cultural noise is when the candidate gives answers that he or she believes the interviewer will want to hear. They aren’t revealing who they are, instead they’re simply trying to secure the job.

While conducting interviews biases may happen intentionally or unintentionally, but either way it’s vital to know these biases and how to correct them. The more you are able to notice and stop these biases the better hiring decisions you’ll make.