7 Most Common Unconscious Biases when hiring

Written by ATI Editor
Last updated February 16, 2021

Bias in the workplace is often playing a significant role in employers’ decision-making process. Many of the people who discriminate against another individual at work, do it unconsciously. This is called unconscious bias and can be very harmful to businesses, organisations and their employees.

At Aspiring to Include, we are committed to helping employers and employees develop an inclusive environment. Most people do not realise when unconscious biases occur. For this reason, we have prepared a list of the seven most common biases that arise during the hiring process.

Name Bias

Employers can sometimes make judgements about potential candidates based on the name on their CV. These judgements might lead to unconscious discrimination related to skin colour, race, gender or religion.

Predecessor Bias

Predecessor bias happens when an employer reconsiders a job offer not on account of the candidate’s profile, but on the experience with the person who held the job before. For instance, an employer might not hire a candidate because they resemble a former employee who was disqualified from work.

Experience Bias

Experience bias occurs when an employer discounts somebody for attending a particular school or working for a specific organisation or business.

Affinity Bias

An affinity bias is when an employer decides to hire someone perceived to be a lot like themselves. This leads employers to have a more favourable opinion of somebody who seems like them. For instance, a manager might select a less suitable candidate over another because they attended the same university as them, and therefore are more relatable to the employer.

Intuition Bias

Intuition biases occur when a hiring decision is made by only one person and is based on intuition. While employers need to consider their instinct in the hiring process, it is crucial to get more perspectives when hiring.

Job Description Bias

Job description bias occurs when employers use gendered language or other stereotypes to describe the job. It is essential to understand the importance of gender-neutral language when recruiting and being aware of the type of language you are using to attract more diverse candidates.

Biased Interview Questions

Interview questions are often unconsciously biased. Therefore, it is essential to be aware of biased questions and avoid asking them during interviews. For instance, an employer might ask the question: “How did you get to work today?” to determine where a candidate lives or how they might commute. Answers to this question can reveal details about somebody’s socioeconomic background.

To learn more about overcoming unconscious bias in your interview process, you can read our blog about reducing unconscious bias.

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Last Updated: Tuesday February 16 2021
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