Two women in a job interview process

9 Tips to Overcome Your Interviewer Bias in Recruitment

6 min read | Jan 15, 2024
 Marta Gongos- Ad Culture By Marta Gongos

Every hiring manager wants to hire great talent for their company. They want the most qualified candidate with the right culture fit and motivation, which is why candidate interviews are such a vital part of the recruitment process.

With that said, interviewers are human beings with biases that cloud judgements and influence decisions—consciously and subconsciously. Overcoming these biases takes work and practice, but it’s absolutely worth the effort.

So, wondering where to start? Let’s dive into what comprises recruitment bias and then learn about 9 tips to overcome it!

What is Interviewer Bias?

Interviewer bias (also known as recruitment bias) is the tendency to favour or reject candidates based on personal preferences, opinions, or stereotypes that are unrelated to the job requirements or the candidate’s performance.

Here are some common interview bias examples:

  • The Halo Effect: Falsely attributing positive work-related traits to somebody because you perceive them as charming or attractive.
  • First Impression Bias: Forming a quick or incomplete decision on someone based on information you learn within seconds of meeting (positive or negative).
  • Confirmation Bias: Asking leading questions that elicit the answers that you want to hear so you can validate your preconceived opinions.
  • Stereotyping: Making baseless assumptions, such as assuming an older candidate would be more resistant to change than someone younger.
  • Affinity Bias: The tendency to favour candidates who share similar beliefs, opinions, and interests as our own, and vice versa.

Whether it’s first impression bias or confirmation bias, any of these interview bias examples can sabotage the process. So, let’s start overcoming them!

 A hiring manager interviewing a female candidate virtually
Image Source: Canva

9 Tips to Overcome Interview Bias

1. Learn Your Biases

Being self-aware is the first step you need to take. Understand and accept that you are not immune to interviewer bias and that you may have some preconceived ideas about certain candidates or groups. Having this awareness will help you understand when you’re making biased decisions so you can take action!

2. Clearly Define Job Criteria

Before you start interviewing candidates, make sure you have a clear and detailed job description like requirements, responsibilities, and expectations. When you use measurable and specific criteria to evaluate candidates, you avoid vague or subjective terms that can be influenced by your personal preferences or opinions.

Read more: How to Write the Perfect Job Description

3. Diversify Your Candidate Pool

Diversifying your candidate pool is a great way to reduce the risk of affinity bias or stereotype bias. Use multiple sources and channels to attract and reach out to potential candidates with different backgrounds and perspectives.

4. Anonymize When Possible

Another way to avoid recruitment bias is to remove any identifying information from the candidate’s documents that could trigger your biases. This way, you can focus on the candidate’s skills and qualifications rather than their demographics or appearance.

5. Use Structured Interviews

A structured interview is a standardized and consistent way of interviewing candidates—and the perfect tool to beat interviewer bias. In these, you ask the same questions to all candidates and use the same scoring system to rate responses.

This approach allows you to compare candidates based on their actual performance and relevant criteria rather than on your impressions or feelings!

Read more: How to Conduct an Interview (Step-by-Step Guide)

6. Ask Behavioural and Situational Questions

When it comes to interview bias and questions, here’s a great rule:

Leading Questions ✖️ Behavioural and Situational Questions

As an interviewer, you want to assess candidates’ skills, abilities, and personality traits accurately and objectively. Behavioural interviewing is the way to do that.

Ask candidates to describe how they handled specific situations or challenges in their past work experience, or conversely, how they’ll handle a hypothetical situation related to their role. In doing so, you’ll avoid confirmation bias!

An interviewer holding an anonymous resume
Image Source: Canva

7. Seek Multiple Perspectives

Another way to reduce interviewer bias is to involve other people in the hiring process. Your personal unconscious biases may be limiting, but adding other perspectives can provide you with a better understanding of a candidate’s suitability for the job!

As such, we recommend the following:

  • Implementing a panel-style format with multiple interviewers
  • Having different people interview the same candidate across stages
  • Gathering feedback from those who interacted with the candidate

8. Review Your Decisions Carefully

Another essential step in reducing recruitment bias is to take your time when making decisions. Even when trying to fill pressing vacancies, make sure to deliberate and review your notes and ratings for each candidate with care.

9. Hire a Recruitment Agency

One of the best ways to overcome interviewer bias in recruitment is to hire a professional recruitment agency. Their people are trained in the art of overcoming interview biases to help you find qualified and diverse candidates for your job openings.

You’ll also find that a recruitment agency has:

    Practice screening and interviewing candidates based on objective criteria
    Access to a large pool of talent from different backgrounds and industries
    Experience in handling legal and ethical issues related to hiring
    Knowledge of the latest trends and best practices in recruitment

Read more: 5 Reasons Your Company Should Hire a Recruitment Agency

Partner With Ad Culture for a Non-Biased Interview Process

Interviewer bias can be detrimental to your company’s hiring process, but it’s not something you can’t work to mitigate. With the help of these tips and support from an unbiased recruitment agency, you can hire the right candidates fairly.

Here at Ad Culture, our job is to help you build your team with the best talent—without falling victim to recruitment bias. Our hiring processes are thoughtful, inclusive, and always end with the right people in the right seats.

Struggling with interview bias? Contact us today!

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