My HR team exposed my bias, and I’m thankful they did

unsplash — https://unsplash.com/search/hiring?photo=fY8Jr4iuPQM

Seer is constantly hiring, and in particularly at this time we had a REALLY sizable need. We were getting close to turning down business, our PPC team was already putting prospects on a 8–12 week start time. Our inability to hire fast was hurting our growth!

Note: I live in complete fear of hurting our reputation by closing deals and “back filling” talent. So I’ve told the team, we have to turn away business if it means we’re going to risk reputation & referral sources by taking on something and hiring unvetted peeps.

One of our recruiters kept an eye on my internal praise, shout outs, etc and indexed some of my perceived highest performers based on my feedback.

Then, during a particularly intense time of hiring, I think she got sick of me dismissing people based on their resumes alone.

I operate on a move fast and break things mentality, so I am making judgments about people & companies in seconds of viewing a resume (or about us page). For resumes, before I even read a word, I’m looking at the design, I might dismiss it based on the design alone.

She had a hypothesis, that sometimes by running fast that I might miss out on top performers because I’m judging people too fast and don’t invest the time to take that coffee or first interview, and she was right.

So like any data driven marketer, she ran a test. She brought me another set of resumes. This time with made up names on them, but I didn’t know that.

As I went through each of them, she asked me to rate them on 3 criteria on a scale of 1–5, based on if I’d move them to the next round of interviews.

Nope, Nope, Yup. I threw our 2’s — 5’s — 1’s with lightning speed. Done.

When I finished my work in 5 minutes, she told me the actual names of the people. 2 of them were people I had been praising internally left and right, week in and week out, month in and month out. I wouldn’t have even hired them based on their resume alone. Today I rely on these people to take us to new heights.

How could someone who I’m praising as critical to Seer’s future not have gotten an interview if I was in charge?

Bias.

Fast moving, heck slow moving peeps, there’s value in looking at your high performers’ resumes when they first applied. Are you getting it right? What are you getting wrong. The later is where you start to find your bias, where are you over-weighting / under-weighting factors? That will make you better at hiring.

Other things I’ve seen to expose bias…taking names off of resumes and see a year later who you would have / would not have hired…look back at the past year. Find your bias.

Great marketers are constantly seeking to better understand how their individual life experiences / thought patterns are getting in the way to them doing the most good for the most people.

We challenge ourselves by looking at our wage gap, why? Because we know we have bias, and if we don’t put some data and checks to that bias we’re not doing the most good for the most people.

Have you already overlooked that next great hire that can take you to the next level b/c you are moving so fast? That next great hire might just be in that stack of NOs from the past, put a recruiter on that, they have more time than you and just might take a coffee with that next great hire, you would have missed.