Business owners and managers tend to be quick thinkers, known and appreciated for their ability to make decisions at the drop of a hat, and have them be the right decisions. And yet when it comes time to hire – this admirable trait can sometimes backfire. Unconscious hiring biases can hurt your company in more ways than one.

  • Increased turnover leads to increased costs (and lost time and resources).
  • Legal issues stemming from claims of wrongdoing lead to fees, frustration, and even blows to a company’s reputation.
  • A lack of diversity ultimately leads to a lack of ideas and/or productivity.

We’ve previously spoken at length about the importance a diverse recruiting strategy plays in strengthening your business. Consistently successful recruiting must be based on merit, and absolutely free from any and all biases.

But did you know? There are many different unconscious hiring biases that you probably aren’t aware of. Here are just five of the big culprits to keep in mind:

  1. Confirmation bias: Kneejerk reactions are all too prolific. More than half of all recruiters pass judgment within the first 15 minutes of meeting a prospect. People want to believe their initial instincts are correct, and that they can continue to rely on them. Because of this, many interviews may fall victim to asking immaterial questions simply to justify early – and quite possibly flawed – assumptions.
  2. Halo effect: This hiring faux pas focuses solely on the things we like about a contender while glazing over more problematic elements. This bias is the equivalent of putting blinders on – zeroing in on the candidate’s alma mater, or favorite sports team, etc. – while outright ignoring any alarms that may be going off.
  3. Horn effect: Named for its devilish implications, the horn effect veers in the opposite direction from its “halo” counterpart and describes a hiring party who forms an immediate and unmovable opinion of a candidate as a result of a perceived weakness, characteristic, or some other “negative” quality. This can be anything from physicality to cadence to pop-culture preferences and beyond, but it tosses information-driven decision-making right out the door (and perhaps the ideal employee with it).
  4. Similarity attraction bias: Employees and employers, alike, spend a lion’s share of each day at the workplace, engaged with one another. It stands to reason we would want to do so with people we share common interests with. Knowing upfront that we are on the same page with a relative stranger regarding personal likes reassures us that those long days at work won’t feel quite so long. The problem is these traits often have little bearing on performance and one’s ability to do a job well. The key? Find recruits who embrace your company’s core values, whatever they may be. That’s the true fit you’re looking for.

Awareness of their impact is the key to combatting unconscious hiring biases and removing them from your recruitment process. By remaining cognizant of our actions and questions throughout the interview process,

Outsourcing your hiring needs to a recruiting expert can also go a long way toward boosting your company’s culture, creativity, and competence. Maslow Media Group specializes in staffing and executive recruiting. Drawing from a global network of talent, we can handle the entire process for you – from the interview to the background checks to monitoring performance after employees are hired. Contact us today to learn more and schedule a consultation.