Humans are effective amalgam of complex systems that allow us to function and survive. Thankfully, many of those systems run subconsciously, requiring no effort on our part to happen.

Every day, our brains take countless data points and make assessments and choices that shape our lives. But much happens beneath the surface, deep within our subconscious mind, it also plays a big role in shaping our behavior.

Since we are not always actively aware of these thoughts, we often do not realize the negative consequences that may be due to unconscious bias. This can be particularly problematic when it comes to building a diverse team.

If it is human nature to look for clues, patterns, and data to help us make decisions about other people, how can we recognize unconscious bias to reduce it when hiring?

What is unconscious bias?
Every human has a bias. Prejudice is a particular tendency, feeling or opinion, especially one that is already unrelated or inappropriate. Our brains have developed a very natural habit of discovering and categorizing data about the world and prejudicing that information.

Our prejudices are shaped by our lived experiences, our families, our communities, the media, you name it! And all our prejudices, both conscious and subconscious, affect our perceptions and actions. We have been dependent on prejudice for thousands of years, often to help us make snap decisions to survive.

The unconscious biased, also known as implicit biases, is the inherent attitudes and stereotypes that people inadvertently attribute to another person or group of people who influence how they perceive and engage with them.

A large amount of research has demonstrated the association between prejudice and racism, discrimination, and prejudice, so it is important that we understand what prejudice is and how it can negatively impact what we do.
Examples of unconscious bias
confirmation bias
Humans have a tendency to make decisions or form an opinion about something, then look for information that ignores the information that opposes that information. Confirmation bias suggests that we do not experience situations objectively, and we instead extract bits of data that make us feel good because they confirm our biases.

Hiring Effect: This can be problematic in hiring if a hiring manager makes initial conclusions about a candidate and then only looks for data that confirms this initial idea.

Equality bias
Have you noticed that your group of friends have many traits and qualities similar to their own? This is not an accident – we often look for and like people with whom we share stuff.

Hiring Impact: When building a company, hiring people like you can have a negative impact on decision making, innovation and your culture.

Conformity bias
You may remember receiving several lectures about being a teenager and resisting peer pressure. Groups have power, especially when that group is made up of the people you care for, such as in the workplace.

Hiring Impact: We go with a group that thinks because it feels uncomfortable to disagree and challenge, but requires a great hiring process.

How to reduce unconscious bias in hiring process
Every human is full of conscious and subconscious bias, which influences how and why they make choices, so it is a tall order to erase all bias from our recruitment processes. We would like to share with you all the steps taken in Help Scout to help you.

1. Diversify Your Recruitment Team
The data suggests that diverse groups make better decisions, so do your best to diversify your recruitment team so that more backgrounds and voices are represented. It will also be a better experience for candidates if they are able to see different types of identities on a team.

2. Developing interview training
No one is born an excellent interviewer, just as no one becomes an amazing marketer or engineer without practice, experience and training. Therefore it is important to train your team!

At Help Scout, everyone involved in recruitment goes through our in-house interview training that covers the goals of recruitment, how we define and maintain the candidate experience, unconscious bias pitfalls, and how to ask questions And evaluate candidates objectively.

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