Recruitment biases and objectivity

by | Nov 16, 2022 | Recruitment and Executive Search | 0 comments

Recruitment biases and how they influence objectivity and team diversity

Diversity has become an integral part of our lives. But is it really?
Are you comfortable cooperating with or hiring somebody, who is different? …and try to be honest now – nobody sees you! 😉

We are talking about biases. Biases are a challenge for everyone. They affect us all, even the most experienced, intelligent, and empathetic among us. And when it affects our judgment at work, we face a serious issue.
As a hiring manager, recruiter, or leader you want to bring to your workplace new skills, thoughts, and perspectives – and these all come from a diverse and inclusive workforce.
Thus, the question is:

How to minimize the influence of biases?

I have explored the most common profession biases –> and especially the gender bias is endemic in many roles, here are a few most common ones, that each of us could have experience with:

  • female pilots mistaken for flight attendants
  • male nurses frequently mistaken for doctors (and in some languages, this profession does not even have a masculine alternative name!)
  • female doctors mistaken for nurses
  • females in the construction industry generally not presumed to be contractors or general managers
  • female lawyers mistaken for someone other than the lawyer in a case

The list goes on and on and I haven’t touched very specific environments like the army, police, sports etc. And we speak about gender only, but what about all the other areas? Age, sex, skin tone, appearance, figure, nationality and many more… This topic is a source for a book, not an article!

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Recruitment biases are natural

Biases are natural developments based on our individual backgrounds and experiences. We can’t help it. Every human is biased. Dictionary describes bias as a strong feeling in favour of or against one group of people, or one side in an argument, often not based on fair judgement.
It is a kind of shortcut, strongly influencing your decision, and it can often lead to incorrect assumptions and reactions—perhaps even to stereotypes and prejudice.

Every day we take many decisions, stating like or dislike to all the people we are meeting. Is it possible to adjust our vision, are we able to manage it or shall we simply give up, when we all are biased?
What is on a conscious level, under our control, and what is subconscious, out of our reach? And is it really out of our reach though?
Well, the answer, in this case, is not “out there”, but inside us. Let me navigate you gently…

Bias-free recruitment

Recruitment is extremely sensitive to a very fair and bias-free approach, so I decided to make an experiment. To bring you very honest and bias-free insight I decided to try an Implicit Association Test from the Harvard.edu project on Social and Behavioural Sciences research. This project is testing the attitudes and beliefs across the population and tests are checking, how you perceive nationalities, religions, races, skin tone, gender in general and gender/career or gender/science relations, sexuality topic testing your gay/straight perception, ageism, disability etc. Those tests often reveal automatic preferences – you can´t hide anything.

Well, well – long story short – mine results were surprisingly shaking all my beliefs. Do you dare to try it yourself?

What can make you feel a bit better in advance – you will see the result of automatic preferences, subconscious behaviour, and your first reaction. But we are humans, we have our “softeners & filters” like ethics, purpose, and kindness and some of us at least have rational logic and responsibility for consequences… And we always apply those filters in the second step.

So, go ahead, mirror your own biases, and try some tests yourself! You might become a kinder person, a better friend, colleague or leader – you need just a few minutes to check out your own weakness to name them and turn them into strength. https://implicit.harvard.edu/implicit/takeatest.html

Once you experience yourself how it feels, perhaps you will start to question your value ladder!

Any doubts or questions regarding how to recruit effectively and be an objective non-biases interviewer, feel free to connect with me or my colleague Lubica Kangas.

With passionate regards ,-)

P.S. If you like this post, feel free to share it with your friends! You find the sharing buttons on the left side of the screen. And you will find more exciting posts like this also on our blog.

Sources:
Harvard.edu
https://www.td.org/professional-partner-content/the-most-common-biases-stalling-your-diversity-and-inclusion-efforts
https://www.americanbar.org/groups/business_law/publications/blt/2020/04/everyone-is-biased/

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Darina Rössl

The Author

Darina Rössl is an experienced manager with a psychological background, she is co-founder of an Institute for employment assessment.
She knows the world of business as well as the corporate international environment, marketing, and communication, and she has offered all she has learned to NGOs, e.g., supporting children in crisis on the child helpline as well.

Darina works as an executive search and assessment consultant; she is fascinated with everything regarding the brain itself and people in general - their behavior, motivation, talents, and purposes, striving to support clients on the life path to joy and fulfillment.

On a personal note, Darina’s passion and source of energy are the sun, sea, scuba diving, and her small clever dog, accompanying her on her travel.

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5 recruitment tips every hiring manager should know

Download our recruitment ebook now!

Just leave your name and email and we will send the ebook over.

Please check your emails for a message from us!

Free Fulfillment Guide

Get our cheatsheet for a more passionate life!

Leave us your email and receive our 13 secret questions to help you discover your real passions directly to your inbox.

Please check your emails for a message from us!

Leave us your email and we will send you the requested Recruitment Kick-off Template right away.

Please check your inbox!

Interested to receive a fair offer for Recruitment service?

Our pricing is very fair (as our clients say). It is based on the estimated amount of hours needed for your particular recruitment, not dependent on the candidate's remuneration package and not tight to one particular country either.

Please let us know your main requirements and we will send you our initial offer promptly. 

Just leave your name and email address and check your inbox for an email from us.

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