Unconscious Bias in Hiring Process Hinders Business Success

With the current skilled workers shortage in the Lansing region, many companies need to hire good workers now. Many of those companies tend to hire people who look, think or act like the other employees in the company.

Kimberly Giles, a human behavior expert, said in a Forbes article that hiring only similar people is a mistake caused by unconscious bias.

“When you do find any small commonality you tend to exaggerate it, and in the end, you misread people and put the wrong people in the wrong positions,” Giles stated in the article.

Robert Half, a staffing agency that connects employers and job seekers to staff positions in finance, law, technology and more, said most bias happens during the hiring practice without hiring managers realizing it. This can have major consequences, including breaching company policies, diversity goals or even discrimination laws.

According to a study by the University of Toledo, researchers could predict the outcome of an interview after the first 10 seconds. The study showed the rest of the interview was spent unconsciously trying to confirm prejudices determined from the first 10 seconds, rather than learning about the candidate’s skills and capabilities.

A Harvard study, Recruiting for Diversity, stated it is important for businesses to hire for diversity of race, thought, opinion and more because differing backgrounds and perspectives lead to a variety of knowledge, innovative ideas and enhanced processes. The study also states that hiring for diversity can give a company a reputation of valuing differences, which will help attract talented employees.

It can be difficult to ensure hiring managers are being open to diversity, but there are things businesses can do to eliminate unconscious bias:

  • Review hiring practices
  • Check language in job descriptions
  • Blind the resume review process
  • Set diversity/inclusivity goals
  • Use personality/behavior assessments like DISC or AcuMax


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