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8 Hiring Biases You Need to Know About

Updated: Jul 11

Recently, I was out with a group of friends for dinner. During our conversation, a batchmate from school shared an incident of him being rejected on his joining day as the position was given to the boss’s relative. Soon, others joined sharing their experiences from workplace culture. Some things that came up were about how they faced discrimination or wrongful behavior during interviews due to their community, color, favoritism, gender, social status, and religion etc. Suddenly, the discussion got intense when another friend (a HR by profession) seemed to share her side of the story. She agreed to a few points but was equally surprised with some when everyone on the table were sharing their bitter experiences. That got me thinking… HRs too are human and they must definitely be having biases while hiring, right? Well, to my surprise, I discovered how IT and Software Companies’ hiring biases play a role in the entire process of recruitment. Some of them are:

1. Confirmation Bias

Quick decision is a human tendency that every IT recruiter often follows and later on justify their choices by asking random questions. As per study conducted by The British Psychological Society, experienced recruiters confirm Software Employees within 15 minutes of the interview process.

2. Affect heuristics/ First Impression bias

This refers to the process of someone making a decision based on random or irrelevant elements like weight, name, height, tattoos, etc which do not ensure the way he/ she will be able to handle the task. Study shows that heuristics was used in early humans but is harmful in the hiring process.

3. Expectation/ Halo Effect

The IT or Software Employer has a preconceived notions about the type of personality, and compares those resumes with the last one or their perspective of that person, thus finalizing the IT candidates without proper investigation.

4. Similarity attraction bias

Like all other humans, employers also get attracted to people who have a similar nature. As per a psychological study, similar attraction bias is the outcome of the recruiter’s inclination towards a candidate’s similarities with them.

5. Illusory correlation

Sometimes our mind creates an imaginary relationship with the candidate based on the sense of empathy and rapport we developed during the interview process. This selection is known as illusory correlation.

6. Conformity Bias

The fear of our decision being ridiculed by our peers is what makes us take conformity biased decisions. We don’t like to be the odd one among the others while deciding over the candidate, thus, we agree to others' choice without further interrogation.

7. Ingroup Bias or Fundamental Attribution Error

People in our surroundings often refer their friends to be recruited for the position based on their relationship or just one of the required skills, this decision is called Ingroup Bias or Fundamental attribution Error.

8. Escalation of Commitment

Escalation of commitment relates to the investor of the authority in power being in charge of approving our selections. In such instances we often end up losing the candidates with the right knowledge, skill and experience.

Now that we know the traits of biased hiring, every Software Company should analyze its processes, check for loopholes and work on strategies to eliminate these biases.

Impact of Hiring Bias

1.Toxic Work Culture

Hiring Software Employees that don’t fit the role or those that end up missing deadlines or impact the quality of work, results in a chaotic process that disturbs employees, team and sometimes, even the organization's work culture.

2. Lack of DE &I

Hiring people as per personal choice often closes opportunities to Software Development Employees of different gender, race, color, age, nationality etc. This restricts diversity and Inclusion at the workplace.

3. Low Productivity

Lack of knowledge and experience impacts the quality of work and reduces the productivity of the employee as well as the team.

4. Unsatisfied Customers

Unskilled IT workers in the toxic work culture are unable to understand the needs of the customers left alone working towards it. The employees may either leave or get stagnant in terms of performance, resulting in unsatisfied customers.

5. Decrease in Profits

The Software Company profits decrease every quarter when wrong Software Employees are hired as their improper service reduces customer count and blocks new customer opportunities due to bad employer reputation.

(Author: Alisha Fernandes is an inquisitive learner & content writer at TechDoQuest, which is a Canada-based IT Recruitment Company)

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