Recruiting Biases: How to Avoid Blind Spots and Make Smart Hiring Decisions

Business people shaking hands during job recruitment meeting in office

It’s difficult to calculate exactly how much a bad hire costs a company, but experts estimate it’s anywhere from tens of thousands of dollars to as much as a quarter of a million dollars, considering all recruiting and onboarding expenses. If a new employee doesn’t work out, it also can adversely affect employee morale, productivity and customer retention.

Applicant screening and job interviews play an integral role in the selection process, which is only as effective as the people managing it. And no matter who handles recruitment for your company, one thing is certain: They have predisposed notions, or biases.

Everyone has blind spots. Sometimes we recognize them, and other times they live in our subconscious minds. These conscious and “unconscious” biases are unproven assumptions we make about individuals with particular characteristics that we perceive as less-than-desirable.

Managers who lack training on and awareness of their inherent biases may inadvertently overlook the right candidate for a job, because these stereotypes help inform their opinions and sometimes cloud their judgment.

16 Tips for the Interviewer

 

Screening Process

Many candidates never advance past the resume-submission stage of their job searches. Managers should consider the position they are hiring for and determine what knowledge, skills and abilities are needed for that position.  This can help managers to avoid screening out candidates based are factors that are not relevant to the job they are applying for. 

To help prevent biases from causing candidates to be prematurely rejected from the hiring process, employers should consider:

  • Providing training to managers and others involved in the hiring process;
  • Disallowing the rejection of an applicant based on a single unfounded selection factor;
  • Creating a checklist of acceptable rejection factors;
  • Encouraging interviewers to stay open minded throughout interviews and to avoid rushing to judgment;
  • Asking questions that more directly relate to a candidate’s ability to do the job and fit within the company’s culture,
  • All of us can be subject to bias. But good training for hiring managers, an honest evaluation of job applicants and taking conscious steps to avoid letting biases sneak in help make the recruiting and hiring process fair for everyone.

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Sherri Bennett

Written by Sherri Bennett