Bias Beats Best

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Bias is “the inclination or prejudice for or against one person or group, especially in a way considered to be unfair”. We have all been biased at one time or other and I suppose depending on how strong our biases are, they can affect the decisions and the choices we make in life and work. Bias is not fact and is generally an incorrect view of reality.

From a recruitment and selection perspective bias can affect the candidate choices we make whether consciously or subconsciously.

“Your man worked in Blogs Inc – they’re all dossers in that place “, “I don’t like her accent – she’s too posh”. I know these are obvious examples, the subtle ones sometimes become confused with ‘gut instinct’. In your organisation you want to get the best candidate for the job based on their qualification, experience and culture fit – taking bias out of the process will help you get there. There are a number of steps you can take :

  • Educate your staff on interview techniques;
  • Define a clear job spec where necessary skills and competencies are identified and assessed for each candidate;
  • Introduce standardised methods of interviewing – the same process, the same questions used for each candidate, the same scoring method applied;
  • Have more than one person interviewing;
  • Employ psychometric testing to aid the process;
  • Have a formal meeting where decisions on candidate choice are discussed and justified on the basis of skill, competency and experience.

No matter how we work with our candidates to prepare for interviews we cannot account for bias. For an organisation, its objective is to get the best person for the job. Employing improved techniques for interviewing may be more cumbersome however the process should be fairer and the choice better.

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