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Interview bias is when a hiring manager, recruiter, panel interviewer, or HR professional uses an individual trait not relevant to the role as the reason for a negative evaluation of a candidate during the interview process.
Some interview bias examples would be ageism (discriminating against someone based on their age), racism (discrimination based on race, ethnicity, or cultural background), and sexism (discrimination based on gender). It could also be a bias toward candidates from certain schools or having specific certifications.
For example, let's say you're interviewing for a customer success role and the interviewer has a bias against people who haven't completed a college degree. This would be a form of education bias that could prevent you from getting the job, even if your experiences and skills are the best fit for the role. This is why it's vital to a healthy and diverse company culture to recognize any potential interviewer bias in order to avoid it. These biases can have a lasting impact on someone's life and career.
At the core, what is interviewer bias? It's any conscious or unconscious preference for a specific person or group of people, which results in the exclusion of other qualified individuals because they don't fit the aforementioned group. It can be hard to spot and even harder to eliminate, but it is important that every interviewer recognizes our biases and works together to create fair and inclusive hiring practices. In the end, everyone benefits from a diverse team with different perspectives and backgrounds.
The best way to combat such bias is by taking the time to learn about it, raising awareness, and reducing unconscious bias in the interview process. A great place to start is to identify your own biases by taking the implicit bias test created by scientists from Harvard, the University of Virginia, and the University of Washington.
Additionally, implementing a semi-structured interview process and standardized assessment tools can help reduce bias in the hiring process.
Ultimately, interviewer bias is still a huge issue, but with awareness and effort, we all have the power to create fair, equitable hiring processes that will benefit companies and candidates alike.
If you've been asking, what is interview bias and how can we eliminate it from our hiring process, this can be done through training, creating an anti-bias policy, interview intelligence software, using data-driven assessments, evaluating past hiring practices for potential biases, blind screening's, and ensuring that any interviewer who takes part in the process has gone through unconscious bias and diversity training.
Staying aware and mindful of any potential biases that might come up while interviewing candidates is key, if your video interview platform has built-in coaching tools you can use these as a resource. The effects of interviewer bias cannot be overstated. They have a lasting impact on the candidates you interview and detrimental long-term effects on a company’s health and success.
An internal champion can take on the vision and responsibility to launch anti-bias practices, gain everyone's commitment to creating an inclusive workplace, and create the trust and inclusion necessary for everyone to win. Let's be the change we want to see in the world and create a more fair and diverse workplace. After all, diversity is an asset that helps us all succeed as individuals, companies, and society as a whole.
Bias is ugly, and none of us want to admit that our past experiences or negative feelings about something could affect another person's future - but that's exactly what interview bias does. There are many types of interviewer bias, but here are some of the most common examples:
- Ageism: Discrimination against someone based on their age.
- Racism: Discrimination based on race, ethnicity, or cultural background.
- Sexism: Discrimination based on gender.
- Education bias: Discriminating against someone based on their educational background, or lack thereof.
- Disability bias: Discrimination against someone based on their physical abilities.
- Religion bias: Discrimination against someone based on their faith or religious beliefs.
- Appearance bias: Judging someone on their appearance rather than their skills and capabilities.
You may see these biases come up while reviewing interviews, as biased interview questions are easy to spot. Questions like: “Do you really think you're young enough to work here?”, “Where were you born?”, "So, how long ago did you get married? Are you planning on having kids soon?" or “Tell me about your religion?” are all indicative of interviewer bias.
None of these belong in the workplace, anywhere for that matter. It’s essential to recognize and address any of these biases that could be present in the interview process. Hiring for diversity and making sure everybody has an equal chance at success shouldn't just be a popular trend, it should be part of our culture.
Companies that have a diverse culture and leadership can see 33% increases in profits (according to LineZero), so why not take the steps to make sure everyone has an equal opportunity and create a more inclusive workplace - it's actually good for the bottom line.
There are many ways to reduce bias in the interview process and allow for greater diversity. Interview bias examples are decreasing every day, but it's still something a significant number of candidates worry about. We all need to acknowledge and work to eliminate these biases so that no one ever needs to fear their repercussions and with the right tools, practices, and people in place, you can be confident that your team will continue to grow stronger through diverse hiring practices.
There's no one size fits all solution, so you'll have to put in real work if you want to see long-term change, but understanding potential biases and taking proactive steps to reduce them is the first step in building a successful and inclusive workplace. As we mentioned earlier, identify a champion, someone passionate about the cause with the organizational and leadership skills to put an effective plan into action. Give them the permission and tools to "rally the troops" and make sure everyone is on board with the plan.
Yes, it takes hard work, dedication, and commitment from everyone involved, but isn't that what it takes to create something great?
We can all help in our own way and make a difference, no matter how small. And if we want the workplace to be equitable and fair for everyone, it's up to us to take the steps needed towards making that a reality. Let's work together and create an environment where people feel like they belong.
Back in 2018, Maria Ignatova posted an article on LinkedIn, "The 4 Trends Changing How You Hire in 2018 and Beyond." The article noted that up to 42% of interviews included some form of bias. That’s more than 4 out of every 10 interviews, a pretty staggering figure.
The article also pointed out that up to 60% of recruiters have been known to make their hiring decisions in the first 10 - 15 minutes of an interview. This factor is a good indicator of interviewer bias. In addition, it was found that there were wide gaps between how different genders and races were treated in the interview process, meaning that if the interviewer was the same gender, or color, or shared other similar factors like their alma mater they were far more likely to be moved to the top of the list.
These interviewer bias statistics clearly showed how much room there is for improvement in hiring, and how far we all needed to go to ensure that our hiring practices are truly fair and equitable.
At the end of the day, interviewer bias can be detrimental to both the individual candidates, who may not get a fair chance at success, and to businesses who are missing out on opportunities to bring in new talent from diverse backgrounds. Companies with diverse teams have 33% higher margins and a competitive advantage over those without, meaning there’s a lot to be gained from making sure the interview process is fair and unbiased.
If you've seen bias in your interview process, It's definitely an issue worth addressing - the sooner, the better. Nobody should ever be judged by their gender, color, or any other irrelevant factors. We all have a responsibility to make sure that our hiring practices are free of bias and discrimination. With the right steps and people in place, we can make a difference in creating an inclusive hiring process and work experience for all.
So don't be afraid to take on the role of internal champion, rally the troops, and start making a change. Together, we can create an environment where everyone has an equal voice and opportunity for success.
If you're evaluating your hiring process and have seen possible ways for bias to creep in, schedule a demo with someone on our team. Pillar's mission is to eliminate interview bias and help companies reach their DEI Impact goals. Let's work together to create a workplace that is equitable and fair for everyone.