How to Avoid Interviewer Bias?
Finding the right candidate for a job role comes with many challenges. A candidate has to fill out the application for the job and then enter the recruitment funnel and go through various stages to end up at the interview stage of recruitment. At this point, even the best candidate can be lost when the interviewer’s expectations are set high. This is termed Interviewer bias.
There are many ways in which an unconscious bias can take place. This means that the recruiter takes note of the candidate’s resume from the very moment the candidate sends it to the company. There are chances that the hiring manager, recruiter, or team manager might form a preconceived notion about the candidate.
This can cloud the judgement of the person in charge of selecting the candidate. Sometimes the interviewer might not even be aware that they are biassed. This makes it even more difficult to detect and avoid bias in the interviewer.
Before proceeding further, it is necessary to understand more about interviewer bias. Since the interview stage is where the interviewer and the candidate get the time to talk with each other, it is often the area of bias.
Interviewer Bias Definition
Interviewer bias is when the person in charge of the interview forms an expectation or an opinion about the candidate that interferes with them objectively conducting the interview.
The outcome might be negative or positive based on the opinion the interviewer has formed of the candidate. Sometimes, the candidate might be the most qualified for the job. But, since the interviewer has already formed a biased opinion, they might overlook their qualifications and focus on their negative qualities instead.
This can lead the company to lose a potential employee due to the clouded judgement of the interviewer. There are many ways in which an interviewer might form a bias against the candidates. Regardless of the reasons, interviewer bias is always harmful to the hiring process and makes the entire recruitment inefficient.
Tips to Avoid Interviewer Bias
As we understand interviewer bias, it is necessary to understand the ways to avoid them to ensure that the hiring process is not tarnished. This can help you build your employer branding and offer the candidate a positive experience in the recruitment process.
The main reason for a candidate assessment in an interview is to find the best candidate for your company. Making that decision without any clouded judgement is essential to finding the best candidate to become your employee.
To ensure that you do not show bias towards the candidate in any way, you need to follow the following tips:
Use an Interview Guide
The most straightforward way to tackle bias is to define a guideline for your interviews and ensure that everyone who takes the role of the interviewer follows that. This can help them stay conscious of the interview process and keep them focused on the task. An interview guide will allow them to avoid bias and focus on the defined criteria to collect the data and evaluate the candidate.
The interview guide will differ depending on the job role, but make sure that you keep everyone in the loop. Keep track of the interviewer’s assessments based on the guide.
Anonymise Certain Stages of the Hiring Process
Every recruitment process will have multiple stages. In certain stages, there is no need for the candidate to reveal their names, ethnicity, or many other aspects about them. For instance, in the assessment stage, the evaluator does not need to know about the candidate’s name or further details. This will not give anyone involved in the recruitment process to form a bias against the candidate. This might not work out for all the stages of recruitment. For instance, the interview stage cannot occur without revealing the candidate’s details. But wherever possible, it is best if the candidate details are kept anonymous.
Compile a Written Record
Keeping notes of the interview might seem like a straightforward method, but how does that help the interviewer in avoiding bias? Keeping notes of the interview and writing down your thoughts about the candidate can help you recollect the events long after the interview is done. This can help you identify the aspects of the evaluation that you might feel are opinionated. It might also help you look at the skills and qualifications of the candidate in a different light by eliminating the bias you might have formed earlier during the interview.
Sometimes the best way to avoid bias is to evaluate how you handle the interview. Most of the time, a bias creeps into the interview process without the subconscious thought of the interviewer. To minimise that, it is better to question yourself about the decisions you make and ensure that no bias influences you in your decision. The more self-aware you are, the more likely you are to stop interviewer bias from happening.
Set Up a Structured Interview
A structured interview is when the questions the interviewer asks the candidates are defined in advance, along with the order of the questions. Not to mention there is even a scoring system for the answers the candidate gives. This can help the interviewer follow the questions and stick to the scoring system. If an interviewer follows this, there are little to no chances of interviewer bias.
Have a Diverse Panel
When you have an interview panel with diverse interviewers, there is less chance of bias creeping in. When conducting a panel interview, the interviewers evaluate the candidate at once. The number of people itself helps you reduce the chances of bias right there. Since more than one person is conducting the interview, you could ask them for a vote when deciding to evaluate the candidate.
Provide Interview Training
Sometimes, when all else fails, you can train your interviewers on the evaluation methods of your organisation. It is best for the interviewer to have training on avoiding bias, equality, and inclusive hiring. This can help them handle their own bias and makes it easier for the company to hire the right candidate without biases. With the proper training, the interviewer must be able to stop making assumptions about the candidate, evaluate them objectively, keep an open mind about the candidate, and not let shallow factors about them influence their decisions. This can help you reduce interviewer bias.
Avoiding bias in any way is essential for you as an organisation. This can help you bring in more candidates for your job vacancies, and can help you fill your roles faster. When the candidate feels that they are discriminated against it can quickly bring down your reputation. The above tips can easily help you avoid such problems and streamline your hiring process.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are the types of hiring bias?
The following are some of the interviewer biases:
- Heuristic bias.
- Anchoring bias.
- Halo effect bias.
- Horn effect bias.
- Confirmation bias.
- Overconfidence bias.
- Similarity attraction bias.
How do I reduce an interviewer bias?
You can easily reduce an interviewer bias by:
- Training the interviewer.
- Using an interview guide.
- Using a structured interview.
- Having a written record.
- Having a diverse hiring panel.
Why is it important to avoid interviewer bias?
Interviewer bias can create all sorts of problems for your organisation. It can:
- Lead you to a bad hire.
- Make you miss out on hiring a great candidate.
- Increase your employee turnover rate.
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