4 Tips To Avoid Hiring Bias

16 Oct 4 Tips To Avoid Hiring Bias

You’re probably biased in hiring new employees.  Don’t feel bad – almost everybody practices some form of hiring bias.  Within seconds of meeting someone new, we start forming an impression of their competence, suitability, and overall personality.  Most of all, we decide whether we like them.  Our impressions can be formed from subtle indicators like the color of the person’s clothes, their height, weight, and smell, the firmness of their handshake, the volume of their voice, and the way they sit in their chair.

The problem is, most of these indicators don’t accurately portray the potential of a job candidate.  And even though we recognize that logically, the emotional, subconscious part of our brain keeps messing with our decision-making process.  Once you’ve decided you like someone, you focus on their positives and minimize their negatives.  If you don’t like them, you do the opposite.  These biases have probably caused you to make mistakes in hiring, and miss out on some potentially fantastic employees.

4 Tips to Avoid Hiring Bias:

1. Never Let One Person Be In Charge Of Hiring

The worst-case scenario for hiring is to have one person sort through resumes, meet with candidates, and decide who to hire.  If you have one person sit down for a face-to-face interview with the candidates, they are going to end up hiring the one who shares their love for Fantasy Football and Tom Hanks movies.  They’ll say the person has the “most relevant experience” and “a personality that meshes with our corporate culture”, but whether they know it or not, the Tom Hanks movies were a factor in their decision.

2. Use Panel Interviews to Minimize Bias

Not only do you want multiple people to be involved in the interview and hiring process, but it’s best if those people meet with the candidate simultaneously.  The panel interview allows all interviewers to hear the candidate’s answers not only to their own questions, but to the questions and comments of others.  When the panel discusses the candidate, each panel member will be forced to defend their positive or negative impressions.  Plus, it’s difficult for a candidate to make a superficial connection with multiple people at once.  Charm will give way to competence.

3. Format a Scoring System

The parameters of a job position should be clear long before the interviews begin.  The hiring panel should have a sheet listing the ten or fifteen factors on which they should judge candidates, and they should give each potential candidate a score in each category.  By adding up the scores at the end of the interviews, you should get a (reasonably) unbiased result.

4. Institute a Cooling-Off Period

Emotional decisions are made quickly, logic perseveres.  Meet with potential candidates more than once, and always wait at least 24 hours between the end of an interview and the actual extension of a job offer.