Decades of research have shown us that stereotypes unconsciously influence perceptions and evaluations, a process that is central to employment decisions such as hiring. In hiring and recruiting, allowing implicit or unconscious biases about a candidate to take hold can have seriously negative ramifications for both your firm and the candidate.
EFFECTS OF BIAS
When we assign traits to people without any valid information, we are participating in a biased system that often works against already marginalized groups. Studies have well documented that in evaluating members of a stereotyped group, our biases can even cause us to interpret ambiguous information to confirm stereotypes.
When those in charge of hiring decisions assume traits or tendencies about a candidate that may not be accurate, this can cause firms to miss out on high potential talent. The goal with eliminating bias, beyond being fairer to the candidates, is to be data-driven, eliminate assumptions, and ensure you hire the objectively best candidate for the role.
HOW TO MITIGATE BIAS
Implicit bias is a natural occurrence that takes deliberate effort to mitigate, as it is a difficult process to reduce a belief or tendency that has been shaped beneath the surface. And while there are no quick fixes to eliminating the biases that exist in all of us, there are some simple practices that can help your state of mind when making important hiring decisions. Fundamentally, all of these tips are based in mindfulness — the idea that by simply becoming aware of our tendencies and using intentional thought exercises, we can interrupt our biases before they take hold of a particular outcome.