Although our brains receive information consciously, the subconscious mind allows our brains to display it unconsciously. If you’re hiring based on subjective feelings, you’re using unconscious bias. To eliminate them, you need to recognize what they are and prevent them as soon as possible. This article mainly focuses on unconscious biases in the workplace.

Definition: unconscious bias

Unconscious biases are baseless attitudes and thoughts that one person imposes on one or many others unconsciously. These unconscious biases can help others or, on the contrary, harm others.

For example, racism deserves condemnation in modern society nowadays. However, people of color still be underestimated more than whites in some places, typically during recruitment. The same is true of gender discrimination. Although it does not seem to harm anyone, it can worsen the outlook on society as well as affect those who suffer unconscious bias.

10 kinds of unconscious bias in the workplace

1. Affinity bias

Meaning: When companies hire someone based on ‘the same culture’, he is more likely to be the subject of affinity bias. When hiring teams meet someone they know he will get along with the team because of the same interests, experiences, and backgrounds. Although these similarities may be a good idea, they should never be the final factor to decide. Moreover, this doesn’t help your team grow and diversify.

Solution: Actively record the similarities that you share with the candidate to bring out the same specific skills, experience, and qualities instead of hobbies and personalities.

2. Conformity bias

Meaning: When your hiring team reviews a candidate’s application documents together, conformity bias can cause individuals to agree on their opinion of the majority opinion. The problem is that the majority is not always true, which can cause your team to miss out on a truly excellent candidate.

Solution: Before you gather your hiring teams to review a candidate, ask them all to write down and submit separate personal opinions as soon as the interview ends. Then ask your team to meet and review what everyone has written down so you can hear their objective opinion.

3. The halo effect

Meaning: The halo effect can come into play at any stage of the recruitment process. You can see a candidate has already worked at a big company or graduated from a prestigious school, he will be selected first.

Solution: When looking at applications, you’re probably looking for something unique that makes one candidate stand out from the rest. Please look at the candidate without that halo effect and see how their experience, skills, and personality. This creates equal hiring.

4. Beauty distinction

Meaning: People with an attractive appearance will have higher employment opportunities than disadvantaged people. Because pretty is easier to sympathize with employers.

Solution: Initial screening over the phone instead of a video call or face-to-face interview can help use unbiased technology to identify top candidates.

5. Gender discrimination

Meaning: It’s not surprising that men are often treated more favorably than women in the workplace. Most teachers are female, but principals are men. In general, men are 1.5 times more likely to be hired than women.

Solution: Ignore the gender issue. Set diverse hiring goals to ensure your company is accountable for equal hiring. Especially, be sure to compare candidates based on skills and achievements rather than gender.

6. Age bias

Meaning: 58% of workers begin to notice an age bias when they turn 50. At that point, changing careers, looking for a job, or advancing in careers may be more difficult. Because employers tend to value younger people more because of health.

Solution: Your company should create a policy to prevent age bias along with hiring goals to keep an eye on age diversity when hiring new talent. Skills and experience are the most important factors for hiring.

7. Name bias

Meaning: One research found that whites get 50% more callbacks for interviews than African-American names do. Another research found that Asian surnames were 28% less likely to be recalled for an interview than Anglo surnames.

Solution: Your company can remove candidate names from their application documents.

Refer to: Test your own unconscious bias and how to fix it?


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