This article has been written by Kavita Somara, pursuing a Certificate Course in the Prevention of Sexual Harassment at the Workplace and edited by Oishika Banerji (Team Lawsikho).
It has been published by Rachit Garg.
In recruiting new team members in any of the organisations, HR professionals are playing very important roles and if they are consciously or unconsciously biased by their own assumptions, presuppositions, or likes/dislikes it will really create many complex situations. These biases influence the process from the beginning of the applications the applicants receive till their selection in the organisation. Research shows that almost 5% of hiring decisions are made within the first minute of the interview and 25.5% of hiring are made within the first 5 minutes. It’s because the hiring team makes decisions very quickly when they start the process of hiring, they don’t even take enough time to go through the technicality nor bother about their behaviour, and these quick judgments are influenced by their bias of “Gut feelings “ or first impression and opinions. So, it is really important to follow the hiring process in a very professional manner, and the requirement team must control the influence of their biases. Before interviewing the applicants we must have a very clear idea of how to handle our biases and thus the fair behaviour of the recruitment team and proper knowledge they may be able to select the right candidate as per the requirement or position needed. If we keep aside our personal thoughts we can really avoid the bias situations, now we will try to find out how? Let’s start.
Types of bias involved in recruiting new team members
We as hiring team members must be aware of our biases because our biases can be responsible for inhibiting diversity in our organisation’s workplaces.
- Affinity bias- We must avoid affinity bias, as we many times try to select applicants who have a similar personality to us, like gender, ethnicity, hobbies, age, studies, or they belong to our native places, etc. As some of them remind you of yourself when you were at their stages, recruitment happens on the emotional ground.
- Confirmation bias- Many times when we actively seek out information that will confirm our personal beliefs and a well-designed resume catches our attention, we are said to be abiding by confirmation bias, which is actually more difficult for us later to identify and accept any undesirable qualities in that person and thus before evaluating the candidate we must avoid such personal opinion.
- Projection bias- Sometimes candidates project certain character traits which push us to believe that their goals are similar to ours, and we are finally trapped by our own biases which are not actually fair for the candidates who are coming for interviews.
- Ageism bias- Ageism is also a very common bias among the hiring teams which is definitely not kept in mind at the time of the hiring process, if a suitable candidate is eligible for performing the required profile, we must not make assumptions about their age if he or she is the right candidate.
- Beauty bias- Looks or beauty bias, is an interesting form of bias that most of the hiring team face issues with while selecting candidates. It must always be avoided, no matter if it’s also true that the presence of a candidate is important, but it should not be a basis for bias as no discrimination will be acceptable on behalf of beauty norms which are created by our society or have germinated out of our own thoughts.
- Halo effect & horn effect bias- No matter how the candidate presents themself in the first impression and their great start, most of the hiring teams get affected by this bias. Due to this halo effect, it becomes difficult for them to judge accurately about candidate’s skills and experience according to the required profile for which we are looking and thus, we are unable to meet the requirement accurately. In the same way, due to the negative impression of a candidate in the first step of the interview process, the hiring team makes their own opinion that the candidate is not up to their requirements by their own horn effect bias, and misses out on the opportunity to the skilled candidate. We must avoid the halo as well as horn effects completely.
- Gender bias: A prevalent type of bias among the hiring teams, they are often instructed by the organisation’s management too to give preference to male candidates instead of female candidates. Due to this gender bias in our minds, we overlook a woman’s profile because we think it would be very hard for them to handle the responsibilities after getting pregnant or after having a baby. Gender discrimination is really not fair in terms of candidates and also organisational growth.
According to some surveys, the majority of women are very less in comparison to male candidates either in technical or non-technical sectors.
Ways to reduce bias in the recruiting new teams member
There are some ways by which the hiring teams can be unbiased and we can select or evaluate the right/ suitable candidates for our organisations:
- Self-awareness about biassed things, how to avoid them, and be neutral and fair at the time of the hiring process.
- As per the position, the requirement selects the best suitable candidate without any discrimination.
- Avoid self-judgmental thoughts consciously or unconsciously.
- Give opportunities to the candidates and listen carefully about their work experience and skills, do not take quick decisions.
- Can conduct a good questionnaire as per the position requirement.
- Relay on facts and actual data which is really very important, do not make self-decisions on your own opinion.
Finally, we could avoid these kinds of biases at the time of recruiting new team members in our organisation, and stop favouring the candidates like us, or our family or status or similar kind of nature or looks or religion, etc..and always try to evaluate the right and suitable candidate because our judgments might have been affected for the selection of candidates and our lots of things are really matters due to our bias conclusions. It is very much important that before starting the candidate’s profiles review, always keep in mind that our organisation needs a suitable candidate for so and so role and we are at the first stage to select them and make the recruitment process smooth and fair all aspect, if the hiring team is focused in their role the rest of the process definitely will be risk-free for the organisation as well for the candidates and as per the laws and companies anti-discrimination policy should also include the hiring process rules so that the issues which are occurring by the recruitment team members bias can be resolved completely. Well said – That a comfortable, safe, and happy work environment is conducive to good productivity levels and STOP BIAS while recruiting !!
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