Bias in Interviewing: Do You Recognize It?

September 30th, 2016
HireVue Team

In your position, you plan on always hiring the best person for the job. Right? Your company prides itself on diversity and equal opportunity, and you’re a part of this. But in Suzanne Lucas’ article, Your Interviews Are Biased (And You May Not Realize It), Lucas says, “You may be biased in ways that you don’t expect – ways that have nothing to do with the obvious ways people make hiring mistakes. Your biases can appear in other ways, and while you still get good people when you interview with bias, you may not get the best candidates.” She lists some common biases that companies may not realize they are introducing in the interviewing process.

  1. Cultural Stereotypes. “This isn’t always negative towards the candidate – it’s just as easy to give someone extra points because of their ethnicity as it is to have a negative viewpoint.”
  2. Contrast Effect. If you interview someone who is not good at all, the next candidate is undoubtedly going to look better than the last one.
  3. Negative Emphasis Bias. This is weighing the negative information more heavily than any positive information or attributes.
  4. Choice-Supportive Bias. “Did you fight to get a candidate on the interview list?...While what you tell yourself is that you want these people to have a chance, what happens is that you perceive their interviews in a much more positive light because you made the choice to bring them in. You’re not so much fighting for the best candidate as you are fighting to validate your own choices.”

How do we stop this?

  • Make sure all interviews are in the same place.
  • Have structure. List skills you are looking for.
  • Take great and thorough notes.

Find Suzanne: Twitter LinkedIn  

2. What Matters Most? Experience or Studies?

In Aaron Queen’s article, Queen addresses the split view on experience and study. “Some say that diplomas and degrees mean essentially nothing these days, while others believe that the work field is becoming more prestigious and demanding with its candidates, often valuing diplomas over everything else.” Queen says that the truth really is somewhere in the middle. The importance of work experience:

  • Know the workplace
  • Decisiveness
  • Personal skills
  • Familiar with labor
  • More collected, used to stressful business situations

The importance of studies:

  • Specialized knowledge
  • Unpolished diamond. “A haven of potential”
  • Great theoretical knowledge
  • More excitable and dedicated

What do you think about this article? What do you find more important, what is your stance? Let us know in the comments. Find ­­­Aaron: Twitter  

3. Truth in Advertising

In Joan Axelrod’s article, she says that most time people present themselves at face value. But, we see what we choose to see. “We read the warning labels, see the signs, squint through the fine print, yet we barrel through. Our thought process; this will be different. I will make it different.”  While it’s good to believe in ourselves, we also need to see the warning signs and proceed with caution, or not proceed at all. Axelrod’s tips for reading in between the lines:

  • Reality check.
  • Identify red flags and warnings.
  • Limiting beliefs, fears & inner critics. “I’m too aggressive, I’ll never make it to the C-Suite…Fill in the blank. Today is the day to rise up and fight back.”
  • Authenticity/Imposter syndrome. We talk about being authentic in HR so often, don’t forget to be your real self.
  • Don’t just listen, hear.
  • Preferences, Deal Breakers & Would Be Nice. Identify what you do and don’t want in the future, and identify personal deal breakers.
  • Set boundaries.
  • Remember not everything is either/or. Sometimes you can have that ‘and’.
  • Compromise, don’t cave.

Find Joan: Twitter LinkedIn  

4. Here’s What Talent Agility Looks Like

In Robin Schooling’s article, she tells a story. A theoretical story about Mary managing a small team of three. “With few exceptions, these employees tended to be entry-level professionals who used these jobs to launch their careers – ultimately moving on to bigger and better things at other organizations.” Usually, people stayed at this company for eighteen months. One week, two of Mary’s employees tendered their resignations. Mary realized it would soon be her and one other employee. “Initially Mary approached the hiring process as most managers (and HR professionals) do: she resurrected Job Descriptions for the employees leaving.” She would fill these positions quickly, and then the last employee would only have to do what they had planned to do. “But then she stopped. Perhaps, she thought, if I provide a bit more variety and the chance for staff members to contribute in different ways, we’ll not only get the work done but reap the benefits.” Mary talked to the last employee. Although she’d always been in charge of two tasks, when Mary asked her what she had wanted to learn, she said she had been interested in the other employee's tasks. The tasks were assigned to two different jobs, but I’m sure you can guess what Mary did. “Mary decided to be much more fluid in her operational model; versatility was in and rigidity was out. Rather than creating positions and praying-and-hoping that employees would stay long enough to develop deep-deep-DEEP expertise she opted for a new model that encouraged the development of skills and the need for employees to tackle new challenges.” With this new model, employees normally stayed three years as opposed to the past eighteen months. “I call that talent agility. I call that winning the battle.” Find Joan: LinkedIn  

5. How Much is Employee Turnover Costing You?

In Ben Eubanks article, he talks about employee turnover. He once worked for a company with a turnover problem, affecting a huge amount of the 700 person workforce. He says “Despite small efforts here and there, little was done to change the direction of the firm and it ultimately went under, unable to keep afloat amidst the constant turmoil. Everyone knows employee turnover is a problem, but how much of a problem is it really?

  • For entry level employees, it costs between 30-50 percent of their annual salary to replace them.
  • For mid-level employees, it costs upwards of 150 percent of their annual salary to replace them.
  • For high-level or highly specialized employees, you’re looking at 400 percent of their annual salary.

Employee turnover is a huge deal, remember this and work to better it in your company. Find Ben: Twitter