You’re biased — knowing that is the first step to managing it

Every. Single. One. Of. Us. has a bias. And researchers have found that believing you are less biased than your peers can have detrimental consequences on judgments and behaviors. Detecting that you, yourself has a bias, just as much as everyone else, is the first step to managing it.

Harper Lee captures bias perfectly, “People generally see what they look for, and hear what they listen for”. You’re not a bad person for being biased. It’s inherent in all of us.

From best book ever written — To Kill a Mockingbird

Now, Bias tends to show its true colors when recruiting talent. Employers, recruiters and hiring managers are always looking for the best person for the job. Although they look for whether a candidate has the experience, education, and skills to do the job, their bias can play a role in their decision-making process, without even knowing it.

The impact of such bias is huge. You may not hire the best person for the job because they aren’t like you — they’re a stranger to you (that’s called affinity bias). You may not hire the best person because of their name, gender, age, height, weight. Yep you heard that right, weight. In fact, qualitative reviews by Nowrouzi et. al. showed that individuals who are overweight face weight bias and discrimination at every stage of the employment cycle.

So, we need to REALLY ask ourselves how we can look beyond our own bias and make truly objective hiring decisions.

The existence of social media adds to the complexity of this issue. Social recruiting, by definition, is recruiting candidates by using social platforms as talent databases or for advertising. It uses social media profiles, blogs, and other Internet sources to find information on candidates.

Cartoon credit: Dilbert.com

It’s the world we live in today. Our lives are on the Internet, and it can be super tempting for employers to explore a candidate’s social media profile to learn more. And that’s okay. We’re in a world of hyper-connectivity.

So, how can you remain objective in a world of social recruiting? Can you keep your bias in check in a world where information to feed into your bias is always there? We answer these and many more questions in this SlideShare based on a recent webinar I did with HR Expert Pierre Battah.

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