How biased are you when hiring?

Unconscious bias can affect even the most robust of recruiters

How biased are you when hiring?
Unconscious bias can affect even the most robust of recruiters. It’s a problem that stems from a purely individualistic point of view, whereby people seek out people who remind them of themselves.

And whilst this may be a good way of making new acquaintances, it’s not a productive method of growing a workforce. 

Speaking to Jahanzaib Ansari, the co-founder and CEO of Knockri, he told us how his time on the panel ‘Uncovering and defeating unconscious bias in decision-making’ helped open his eyes to jobseeking plight.

“While it’s a known fact that diminishing unconscious bias can lead to a more ethnically and gender diverse organization, much needs to be done to accomplish this,” he explained.

“Most organizations suffer from similarity bias (‘like me’ effect), where hiring managers continuously hire the same type of talent due to favouring a personal or professional similarity in a candidate.

“Whether it’s love for the same hockey team, or bonding over the same brand of lip balm, looking for irrelevant similarities with no evidence of correlation in performance predictors can result in employment inequity.”

Research from sociologist Lauren Rivera found that in interviews, bankers and lawyers reportedly looked for new hires who reminded them of themselves.

Furthermore, there’s been a number of studies, from universities and organizations, which seem to highlight a name bias – whereby candidates with Anglo-sounding names were more likely to be hired than their competitors.

Ansari claims his inspiration for founding Knockri, an AI video recruiting tool, emerged from pain points faced in his personal life when applying to jobs, and from hiring challenges in his previous venture.

“Being able to identify precisely where there’s unconscious bias present in talent acquisition is extremely important,” added Ansari. “The second step is to ensure that a tool is in place which provides interviewing managers with a short-list of candidates, assessed solely based on merit.

“A practice that allows organizations to assess individuals objectively rather than subjectively would be a great start to defeat unconscious bias in recruitment decision-making.”

To find out more on this issue, Ansari will be speaking at HRD Canada’s Diversity & inclusion Masterclass, March 8th 2018. For more information on our speaker line up and agenda, click here.

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