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In the realm of job interviews, you have interviewers who pay attention to every word, every gesture, and every silence - and those that don't. And yet, amidst this symphony of human interaction and expectations, there's a quiet factor that none of us wants to admit exists, yet everyone faces - interviewer bias. It's a real thing, and it can greatly impact who gets hired and who doesn't - affecting people's futures.
Interviewer bias is a form of prejudice that can occur when personal perceptions, stereotypes, or beliefs about a candidate, twist the interviewer's perceptions. It can dramatically affect the outcome of an interview. It can be subtle - but that doesn't mean it's not ominous, often operating behind the scenes, but its impact can be profound.
We've all heard stories of interview bias examples: a candidate was told they weren't a good fit for a role they were qualified for because they didn't attend a prestigious university, another was overlooked because of their age, or undervalued because of their accent and the level of difficulty pronouncing their name. But while these instances of bias in hiring are disheartening, there are also more subtle forms that can be even harder to identify and combat.
But with the proper education and interview structure - we can combat interviewer bias.
Structured interview questions can be a powerful tool to combat this bias. Imagine an interview as a journey. Without a map or a clear path, it's easy to stray off course, guided by unconscious biases. But structured interview questions provide a roadmap, a pre-defined path that helps keep the interview focused on the candidate's skills and qualifications, not on the interviewer's perceptions or assumptions.
Interviewing intelligence software by Pillar can help you eliminate bias in the interview process and stay on course. The software also has a list of more than 1000 interview questions tailored to the job and the candidate's experience, education, and skills - ensuring that all potential candidates are asked the same exact questions, eliminating subjectivity from the process.
In the same way that there are many paths to a similar destination, there are various types of interviewer bias. Each type of bias can subtly influence an interviewer's judgment while interacting with candidates, steering the course of the interview away from fairness and objectivity.
Confirmation bias, for instance, works like a "powerful puppeteer." Taking over the interview and creating a false sense of safety from similarity. If you're unfamiliar with confirmation bias, it's where an interviewer is more likely to favor a candidate that they can relate to. Whether it's their gender, age, race, or a shared alma mater - this type of bias can prevent the interviewer from truly assessing the candidate on their skills and qualifications. Confirmation bias is like looking at the world through a colored lens; you see what you expect to see the way you want to see it.
Stereotype bias is another form of interviewer bias that can affect candidate outcomes. It occurs when the interviewer assumes that the candidate fits into a certain group they are associated with, even if it's not true. For example, an interviewer may assume that because a female candidate is applying for a role in STEM, she has less experience than her male counterparts.
Stereotype bias begins with an assumption, and the assumption leads to confirmation bias where the interviewer loses curiosity about the specific candidate and makes the assumption that they fit whatever they appear "to be."
Other forms of interviewer bias include implicit gender bias and racial bias - both of which can lead to unfair assumptions and judgments about candidates. Then there's ageism, religious discrimination, and even physical disability bias - all of which can affect the outcome of an interview.
Another common type is the halo effect, where an interviewer allows a single positive trait to overshadow other aspects of the candidate. It's akin to being dazzled by a bright light, blinding you to the candidate's potential weaknesses.
In the 21st century, we should be better than this. Interviewer bias has no place in the hiring process. To protect your teams and company culture, employers today must strive to create an inclusive and equitable environment that is free from bias. The best way to do this is by creating objectivity in the interview process.
The most effective way to combat interviewer bias is to ask inclusive interview questions. In fact, it’s been found that by asking job-related but non-discriminatory questions in interviews, employers are more likely to hire a more diverse and qualified workforce.
In addition to asking inclusive questions, employers can also implement structured interviews that include pre-defined interview paths and questions tailored to the job and candidate's experience, education, and skills. This will ensure all potential candidates are asked the same exact questions while eliminating subjectivity from the process. One of the best solutions to help you achieve this is using interviewing intelligence solutions such as Pillar with a suite of interviewer coaching tools.
Solutions like Pillar ensure that all potential candidates are asked the same exact questions - eliminating subjectivity from the process and providing a level playing field for every candidate.
Best practices for reducing bias in the interview process can be the antidote to these and other types of interview bias. These practices act as safeguards, fortifying the interview process against the negative effects of bias. Having more diversity within our teams allows us to benefit from different perspectives and varied problem-solving approaches. Given the many issues facing humanity today, it is essential to have diverse teams that can come together and find solutions for a more united world.
In the quest to conquer interviewer bias, one powerful weapon is the art of asking inclusive interview questions. These questions have been crafted with care, and are designed to explore a candidate's potential without triggering bias. They are the compass that guides the interview along the path of inclusivity, fairness, and objectivity.
How to conduct an unbiased interview is a question that resonates in the minds of many hiring managers, HR teams, and recruitment professionals today. It can be a delicate dance between being human, caring about the candidate and their future, and being fair. A balance between understanding what it takes to supercharge growth in a company, and also striving not to allow growth alone to dictate our decisions.
Unbiased interview questions examples, like "Can you describe a time when you overcame a significant challenge in your previous role?" or "How would you handle a disagreement with a team member, especially when one of your favorite employees was the one in the wrong?" can help you navigate the interview process without triggering biases.
By asking these kinds of questions, it allows hiring teams to gain an understanding of the candidate's skills (hard and soft skills) and potential for success in a role —without letting their biases get in the way. Asking inclusive interview questions is a powerful tool to partner with when combating interviewer bias in hiring.
The impact of bias on an interview can dramatically change the way a job seeker sees their future, and even if they're not a great fit for the role - they've given us their time and trusted us to do what's right toward them, we should return that sentiment with the same respect. We don't want them to leave with a negative experience that colors their perceptions of themselves or our company and by delivering a great candidate experience, asking unbiased, inclusive interview questions, and respecting them, we can ensure they don't.
It's up to each of us in the interview process to be aware that bias exists, and how we can recognize it and prevent it from impacting our decisions. Taking a step back to consider the implications of our questions, how bias can affect an interview, and taking action to eliminate as much as possible, we're contributing to a work culture where everyone feels at home.
At Pillar, we understand the magnitude of this issue and strive to create and provide solutions to help combat interviewer bias. Our software has built-in interviewer coaching solutions with tips, training, and practice exercises designed to increase awareness and help hiring teams discover the best candidates for their roles, regardless of any biases that may exist. We are proud to be in the fight against interviewer bias and create a more equitable and inclusive workforce.
By confronting our biases head-on, we can take a big step towards creating an environment where everyone has access to great opportunities. Interviewer bias is a complex issue that requires awareness, understanding, and action. It's a challenge we must face head-on, not just for fairness, but for the richness and unique diversity of thought and innovation that comes from inclusive teams.
To see how Pillar can help you create an inclusive interview process, book your demo today!