Even the most seasoned of interviewers may fall victim to some common interviewing bias. Managers need proper training to conduct interviews that are non-discriminatory in nature and avoid exposure to discrimination claims. In addition, awareness of these biases can make interviewers more effective in selecting the right candidate. Some forms of bias are described below.

  • Stereotyping. Stereotyping involves making generalized opinions about how people from a protected class, such as sex, religion, age, race, etc., appear, think, act, feel or respond. For example, assuming a male would prefer being employed in a construction job over a teaching job.
  • Inconsistency. Some managers utilize different sets of questions to interview for the same job position amongst other individuals. For example, asking Hispanic candidates about their bilingual skills versus Caucasian applicants is not a recommended practice.
  • First Impression. First impressions can leave a lasting impression. Sometimes during the interview process, the interviewer takes the first thing they notice about the candidate and forms their opinion regarding the applicant on the first impression. This bias may benefit or harm the candidate’s chances of selection.
  • Halo/Horn Effect. If the interviewer finds one good trait, they will favor the candidate (halo). When the interviewer finds one negative trait, they will use it as a disqualifier for the position (horn).
  • Contrast Effect. Contrast bias is present when candidates are compared against each other rather than evaluated based on the job requirements. The tendency is to base a candidate’s individual ranking on one’s position relative to others in the group. If the interview pool consists of several outstanding candidates, an average candidate will likely not be selected. But in a substandard pool, the average candidate may appear to be highly qualified.
  • “Similar to Me.” The “similar to me” effect occurs when the interviewer identifies with the candidate personally rather than evaluates the candidate on job-related criteria. For Example, The candidate attended the same university as the interviewer.
  • Cultural Noise. This occurs when the candidate’s responses are not factually based but are socially acceptable answers. Basically, the applicant tells the interviewer what they think the interviewer would like to hear or which could help secure the job.

Interview bias may occur intentionally or unintentionally. It is important to be aware of how biases may affect your decision-making when interviewing candidates. Keep biases at bay to ensure equality and effectiveness in the interview process.

To learn more about interview bias and how to avoid it contact our team today!