Phyton Talent Advisors Celebrates International Women’s Day 2021
Phyton Talent Advisors is embracing the global International Women’s Day 2021 campaign theme #choosetochallenge across our offices.
“A challenged world is an alert world. Individually, we are all responsible for our own thoughts and actions – all day, every day. We can all choose to challenge and call out gender bias and inequality. We can all choose to seek out and celebrate women’s achievements. Collectively, we can all help create an inclusive world. From challenge comes change, so let us all choose to challenge.” – IWD website
From a talent acquisition standpoint, we #choosetochallenge unconscious biases that may interfere in the recruiting and hiring process. As talent advisors, we are committed to working with our clients in ensuring they are not allowing biases to interfere in recruiting and hiring decisions.
Unconscious or implicit bias refers to the associations that are made between different qualities and social categories such race, gender or disability and are judgements that are made without conscious awareness. These automatic preferences or stereotypes are a major contributor to a lack of workplace diversity.
The best way to prevent yourself from succumbing to these unconscious biases is to become aware of them and take action to prevent them when recruiting, hiring, and retaining employees. Doing so will help your team build a more diverse and inclusive workplace.
To help, we have identified ten examples of unconscious bias that commonly affect candidates and employees in the workplace. We have also provided some tips for ways to avoid them when recruiting and hiring employees.
1: Affinity Bias – this bias refers to our tendency to gravitate toward people like ourselves. The result of this may mean hiring or promoting someone who shares the same interests, experiences, race, gender, age, or educational background.
Tip: Ensure that candidate slates for all open positions include qualified women as well as people from other underrepresented racial/ethnic groups. Focus on the “culture add” rather than the “culture fit.”
2: Confirmation Bias – is the inclination to draw conclusions about a situation or person based on your personal desires, beliefs, and prejudices rather than on unbiased merit. For example, you may form opinions on a candidate based on their name, where they live or the school they attended and steer the interview questions to confirm your beliefs.
Tip: While every interview will lend itself to a different conversation based on the individual’s background, it is important to ask standardized, skills-based questions that provide each candidate with a fair chance to stand out. This will help prevent your team from asking too many off-the-cuff questions that may lead to confirmation bias.
3: Attribution Bias – is a phenomenon where you try to make sense of or judge a person’s behavior based on prior observations and interactions you have had with that individual that make up your perception of them. When hiring, attribution bias can cause hiring managers and recruiters to determine a candidate unfit for the job because of something unusual on their resume or unexpected behavior during the interview without knowing their full story.
Tip: Rather than assume (because we all know what they say about assuming) a candidate is unfit for a job, ask further clarifying questions. Give them a chance to share their full story with you before you judge.
4: Conformity Bias – Very common in group settings, this type of bias occurs when your views are swayed or influenced by the views of others also known as peer pressure. When your hiring team gets together to review slate of candidate’s conformity bias can cause individuals to sway their opinion of a candidate to match the opinion of the majority.
Tip: Before you get your hiring team together to review a candidate, have them all provide and submit feedback on the candidates immediately after the interview ends. Then have your team come together and review what everyone provided so you can hear their impartial opinions.
5: The Halo/Horns Effect – The tendency to put someone on a pedestal or think more highly of them after learning something impressive about them, or conversely, perceiving someone negatively after learning something unfavorable about them. This may result in favoring candidates over others without merit.
Tip: Evaluate all candidates on their experiences, skills and personalities and do not let positive or negative perception get in the way. Try to understand what the basis of the perception stems from.
6: Gender Bias – This is the tendency to prefer one gender over another gender assuming one is better than the other for the job.
Tip: Conduct blind screenings of applications that exclude aspects of a candidate that may reveal their assumed gender, like name and interests. Set diversity hiring goals to ensure your company holds itself accountable to equitable hiring practices. As a best practice, make sure to compare candidates based on skill and merit rather than traits that can cloud your judgement of them.
7: Beauty Bias – This is a social behavior where people believe that attractive people are more successful, competent, and qualified. People perceived as attractive can be viewed more positively and treated more favorably or conversely, 8. Weight Basis is where you may judge a person negatively because they are larger or heavier than average.
Tip: Companies should create structured recruiting and interview processes so that your team will be able to compare applications and interviews equally and reduce the risk of bias.
8. Height Bias – Height bias or heightism is the tendency to judge a person who is significantly shorter or taller than the socially-accepted human height.
Tip: Conducting blind interviews, phone interviews or video interviews will reduce your susceptibility to judge a person based on their height. Also simply knowing that this bias is a common social behavior will help you identify your bias against candidates.
9: Ageism – The tendency to discriminate against someone on the basis of their age.
Tip: Remove graduation and limit work experience dates on resumes. Realize that older workers may bring skills and experiences to the table that younger workers cannot.
10: Name Bias – The tendency one may have when reviewing resumes to judge a person based on their name and perceived background.
Tip: Remove candidates’ names from resumes to ensure you choose people based on their skills and experience, not their perceived background.
Sources: https://www.internationalwomensday.com, https://www.forbes.com/sites/pragyaagarwaleurope/2018/12/03/unconscious-bias-how-it-affects-us-more-than-we-know/?sh=6a34ae7a6e13, https://www.catalyst.org/2020/01/02/interrupt-unconscious-bias, and https://diversity.llnl.gov/about/bias.