5 Common Hiring Biases to Watch Out For

While hiring a candidate may seem easy, it is anything but that. Among the bundles of resumes, long hours calling candidates and arranging meetings, hiring candidates does come with its fair share of prejudice, bias, and self-acclaimed prophetic powers. The best-suited candidates for a job should ideally be hired, but that is not always the case. Recruiters tend to have preconceived notions, expect too much from candidates, or judge  candidates without properly cross-examining their abilities and skill sets.  

     As a leader, you must ensure that your recruiters are unbiased and that they hire candidates solely based on their functional expertise, ability to adapt to your organization, and additional qualities they bring to the table. Human beings often make decisions based on intuition, and therefore it is important to ensure that your recruiters are pragmatic and objective in their hiring decisions. After all, your organization is only as good as your employees, and your recruiters play a massive role in determining its fate. Here are a few hiring biases you must look out for, and weed out, to ensure that your organization gets the best talent.

  1. Confirmation Bias

Confirmation bias occurs when a recruiter forms a particular opinion of the candidate at the beginning of the interview and as the interview proceeds, asks leading questions that only serve to confirm these opinions or beliefs. Instead of objectively understanding the positives and negatives of the candidate, the interviewer tends to form a few opinions initially and stick to them. This bias can result in bad hiring decisions. It can be avoided by predefining a specific set of questions related to the job role in order to assess the candidate’s skills.

  1. Halo Effect

Your recruiter may hinge on to an aspect of a candidate that he may like. If the recruiter finds any good qualities in the candidate, then they may tend to ignore the less attractive qualities of the candidate. This is known as the halo effect. The recruiter notices only the positive points of the candidate by forming a halo, and does not pay attention to the risks involved with hiring the person.

If he asks several questions with respect to something he likes about a candidate, he may take that as a cornerstone around which he may reject other candidates, who may or may not be more suitable to the job in question. You must talk to your recruiter, and ensure that such a mindset does not hamper the possibility of you acquiring the best talent in the industry.

  1. Overconfidence Bias

Overconfidence bias affects recruiters who trust their intuition over available facts. They rely on their judgment and tend to eliminate candidates based on their gut feeling alone. Their confidence fuels this bias, and several worthy candidates may be overlooked as a direct result of this.

While confidence is a virtue, overconfidence has led to the downfall of many. In the end, the downfall affects your company directly, so hire your recruiters wisely – Do not pay the price for their incompetence. If your recruiter seems to be overly confident, it may serve as a warning sign for things to come.

  1. Similarity Attraction Bias

Diversity teaches us to imbibe and learn from various cultures, ways of being, and mannerisms. Unfortunately, humans tend to seek similarities, rather than differences so they can continue to operate from their comfort zone. Recruiters tend to hire like-minded people, to adhere to their liking and way of being – after all, we spend 8-10 hours in the office every single day. Similarity attraction bias is a red flag and leads to similar minded people being hired. This stalls progress and leads to stagnation. Avoid the promotion of this at any cost.

  1. Beauty Bias

While the very term sounds outlandish, it is a reality. There is a widespread belief that beautiful people are more successful than others. This thinking too is a product of how our brains are hardwired. We tend to believe that the outward appearance of an individual has a direct correlation to his talent, and ability to become successful eventually.

While surrounding yourself with good looking people is not something to frown upon, if it comes at the cost of plausible talent, it is an issue. Subconsciously believing beauty surpasses talent or is an equivalent factor to determining its suitability is not advised.

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Rishabh Ranjan
Rishabh Ranjan

I have 10 years of experience in SEO, Digital Marketing, Content Marketing, and have knowledge in topics like tax, HR, Recruitment & Staffing. When I’m not doing what I do, I suit up, flick the ignition on my bike, and hit the road. But soon enough, I’m back doing what I do best — researching, writing, marketing, and optimizing the content & website.

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