Gem Care Advisor

Our insights and tips for job seekers and employers.

The Common Recruiting Biases That Could Cost You Top Talent

When you’re trying to fill an open position, you know how quickly you can lose the best candidates. Because the average hiring process takes longer than these individuals are available, you find yourself working fast, so you don’t miss out. Unfortunately, this approach can let bias – both unconscious and conscious – creep into your decision making.

Steps are taken to avoid bias due to demographics, like gender, age, and race, but those aren’t the only ways you can discriminate against a candidate. Often small decisions based on several factors create an unconscious bias that could count out the perfect hire for your opportunity. If you don’t want to lose out on a good hire, avoid these common recruiting biases.

First impressions

Candidates are frequently reminded about the importance of the first impression they make in the interview. Still, those interviewing also need to be aware of how their perception can form a bias. It doesn’t even need to be that they were late, disheveled, or excessively shy; sometimes, even just the color or style of shirt they wear can be enough to look at them less favorably.

Understanding this is a natural human reaction; it’s essential to look past your first reaction and focus on the candidate’s experience, skills, and overall interview. You don’t want something as small as a shirt costing you the best person for the job.

Favoring candidates who are like you

It’s natural to be drawn to candidates who remind you of yourself because you know you’re competent, and therefore they must be as well. While this assumption may be correct, it doesn’t mean they should be pushed higher into consideration simply because they are like you. Take time to consider what they offer outside of their personality.

Halo and horn effects

Essentially these occur when you latch on to either a positive trait (halo) or negative trait (horn). Both can lead to biases that either place a candidate into consideration or have them immediately dismissed. Just because you like the passion of a candidate doesn’t mean they have the skills necessary to do the work. Similarly, just because you didn’t like how they answered a question doesn’t mean they don’t have the talent you want.

Using candidate comparisons

While it may seem natural to compare and contrast your candidates, this practice can steer you away from the right choice into letting unconscious bias decide. Rather than focus on their work, you may allow other factors to sneak into your conversations, meaning you may lose sight of the ultimate goal – finding the right hire, not the one you liked best.

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