5 Types of Bias to Be Aware of When Interviewing a Candidate

Understanding deficiencies in a process is about identifying non-value-added activities. It is much easier to identify these pitfalls when working with objective data vs subjective data. To overcome this, we first need to understand what we are up against.  Bias is defined as a prejudice in favor or against one thing, person, or group compared with another, usually in a way that considered to be unfair. We are products of our unique upbringing and personal experiences. There is no way around having these feelings but that is okay. The importance of knowing this is that it does not mean we have to act on these initial feeling and bring more objective data in the decision-making process. Hiring managers have a responsibility to the company, employees, and shareholders hire the best applicant for the right reasons. Below are 5 types of bias, being aware of them will equip us not to succumb to them.

Halo Effect: positive impression of people, brands, and products in one area positively influence our feelings in another area. (Ex: A well-dressed applicant in a suit might be judged to be more competent than an applicant wearing business casual attire)

Horn Effect: making a snap judgement about someone on the bias of one negative trait; surface level judgment. (Ex: Judging an applicant about their motivation and commitment because they are viewed as being out of shape)

Confirmation or Myside Bias: listening more often to information that confirms our existing beliefs. (Ex: A employer perceiving a woman candidate is less confident than male counterparts)

Conformity Bias: taking cues for proper behavior in most context from the actions of others rather than exercising our own independent judgement. (Ex: A member of the interview team deciding to go with a particular candidate even though they have valid concerns because the rest of the panel expressed a favorable opinion about the candidate)

Personal Similarity Bias: preference or tendency to appreciate people like ourselves. (Ex: Acting on hiring based on common interests that do not have any impact on the job)

Mike DePaulo, LSSBB, CDR


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