July 19, 2022

7 types of bias that can affect your recruitment process

As a recruiter, have you ever wondered if your decisions during the recruitment process are 100% unbiased? It’s possible that your organization already has mechanisms to help you keep a fair process for all candidates. However, what can we do when we are not aware of our own bias? These can take the form of ideas and preferences that can affect our decisions subconsciously. What could we do in that scenario? 

The best way to avoid bias is to be aware of them in advance. Do you know the most common types of bias? At T2W we have an extensive experience in talent recruitment so, we can help you deal with this issue. In this article we will delve into the different bias that can affect your recruitment processes. 

What are cognitive bias? 

Types of cognitive bias

Each person has its own particular way to understand the world around. This happens because throughout our live we develop preferences and preconceptions as a consequence of our personal experience. As a result, we create biases that can be positive ones or negative ones. Most of the time, these act subconsciously and have certain level of control over our daily decisions.  

While it can be really difficult not to have biases, when it comes to recruitment, they can be a real danger. These can complicate processes and make us overlook the most qualified candidates. The best way to avoid that problem is to understand the different types of bias in recruitment and identify which ones could affect us when evaluating a candidate. 

Types of cognitive bias  

1. Confirmation bias 

Are you a person who makes decisions based on instincts or a feeling? Ok, then this is a bias you should be aware of. It’s inevitable to have preferences and beliefs rooted in us. The confirmation bias happens when you try to confirm your suspicions about a person or a situation. Subconsciously, you will start looking for evidence that can confirm your ideas and you stop considering the facts in a rational way. 

2. Anchoring bias 

Have you ever heard the phrase: first impressions last? That is very truth for most of the people and, therefore, a real danger for a fair and objective process. The anchoring bias happens when we make a decision based on a characteristic we noticed initially. That first impression ends up being more relevant and all the other facts and information that follow are completely overshadowed. 

You might like: Outsourced Recruitment: Why you must choose it? 

3. Affinity bias 

Imagine that while interviewing a candidate, you notice the person has come from the same part of the city as you do. Then, after asking for the college that person went, you notice it’s the same place you studied in. Those are some remarkable coincidences, isn’t it? That is the perfect scenario where you can see the affinity bias. This happens when we share similar characteristics with another person. Human beings in general tend to prefer what’s similar and familiar. That can endanger the whole recruitment process. 

4. Contrast effect 

As a person who must evaluate an endless list of candidates, it’s almost impossible to avoid comparing them occasionally. However, that can make you forget about the evaluation criteria. The contrast effect happens when you no longer evaluate candidates based on the established criteria but comparing them to each previous candidate. That will make you change the evaluation criteria constantly. 

5. Halo effect 

Have you ever found a candidate that perfectly meet one of the requirements of a position? In that situation, you could be the victim of the halo effect. This happens when we see a positive characteristic in a person and we assume it will happen the same in the rest of the areas. This creates a false perception of reality and we might end up with a candidate who doesn’t really meet all the requirements of the position. 

6. Availability heuristics 

Having to evaluate dozens of candidates can be a little monotonous and tiring. That is the usual context where the availability bias can appear. This is a bias based on people predisposition to predict a result based on similar previous situations; usually as a result of fatigue. For example, after you evaluate certain number of applicants, the mind can start looking for shortcuts to complete the process quickly. The result is a process that fails to find the best candidate. 

7. Emotional bias 

More often than not, you will find candidates that, due to their experience or their personality, can be very talkative. So, because of the way they express themselves, you could end up giving a better score to those candidates. That prevents you from paying compete attention to the real characteristics of the people and their suitability for the position. That can happen often with new or inexperienced recruiters. 

Great! Now you have a better view of the most common bias in recruitment. Check the list and find out the ones that could affect you. A healthy dose of self-knowledge can help you have a fair process.  

At Talent2Win, we strive to align your company’s business objectives with the best Talent Acquisition strategies available. If you want to learn more about the services we offer, do not hesitate to contact us.  

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