Bias isn’t just about stereotypes. When we talk about hidden biases, the first thing that comes to mind is how we’re naturally inclined to favor the job candidate who comes from similar circumstances as ourselves. For example, you’ll find plenty of things to talk about with the candidate who hails from your hometown, attended the same university or is a member of the same social club.
But there are two kinds of hidden hiring biases that impact workplace diversity.
Human biases are personal. These are the biases that affect the neutrality of our decisions, maybe even subconsciously. They can be in-group favoring – such as the example above, or they can be implicit – such as having unconscious stereotypes. Our background, upbringing, and life experiences shape how we perceive a candidate, whether we realize it or not. Biases can be formed on an ongoing basis. For example, if you hire a candidate from a certain university program, and that candidate turns out not to have the right skills to do the job, will you automatically discount the next candidate that comes from that same program?
Then there are procedural biases. This occurs when the processes used to find or select candidates end up leaving out certain candidates – whether they have the skills and competencies to do the job or not.
Tech is one industry where diversity continues to be a hot topic. One recruiter said in an article that her organization found procedural bias existed based on candidates’ pedigrees – whether they worked at top-name Silicon Valley tech companies. Those candidates who did not have such prominent former company names on their resumes were not even making it to the interview process.
Procedural in-group bias can also occur when the same networks or channels are used to find new candidates. Those channels will likely net the same kind of candidates versus a diverse candidate pool.
There are a number of other systematic ways that great candidates may not be making it to the interview process. Data-driven hiring can help you remove the hidden biases that may be skewing your diversity efforts. But first, you have to seek out where bias may be getting in the way. Check out this Infographic to learn more.