6 Most Common Biases to Avoid During Interviews

6 Most Common Biases to Avoid During Interviews

The interview continues to be the most relied-on form of recruitment. 57% of respondents to this Murray Resources’ survey said that an interview is the most crucial factor when evaluating a candidate. And while this form of screening is generally a poor way of predicting a candidate’s performance it has another faulty feature – various types of bias that can emerge during interviews

We like to think about ourselves as objective and open-minded people. However, it’s impossible to rid ourselves of all (un)conscious biases – no matter how well-intentioned we are. Daily, we all make approximately one decision every two seconds, which rounds up to around 35,000 decisions a day – most of which we don’t even notice.

That’s because our brains generally operate within System 1 – the fast, habitual, and automatic way of thinking we discussed in more depth in this post. This coping technique gets us through the day, but it can harm both your company and the candidates when it occurs during a job interview

The recruitment process should be objective, pragmatic, and free from bias – at least in the perfect world. But the world is not perfect, and so aren’t interviews. Being aware of the types of bias that can emerge during an interview is the first step to making the process fair to candidates and beneficial to your company.

Bias in recruitment 

Bias in recruitment emerges in any instance where you form an opinion about a candidate based on an impression or lack of information. We constantly make assumptions based on the information we have, experiences, preferences, background, etc.

Has it ever happened to you that you instantly clicked with a candidate and couldn’t explain why? Maybe it was because they are from your hometown, spoke the language you like, or made a good impression. Impressions we don’t even realise are biased. But in the job interview context, making a biased decision can have long-term consequences for your business down the line because…

(Un)conscious bias can cost you money & talent

Buying a car is a long-term and expensive investment, and getting one solely based on ungrounded assumptions is a risk few want to take. Then why let that happen when hiring a new employee? 

Unconscious bias during an interview is a problem as it can lead your recruiters to make decisions based not on the candidate’s skills, but on assumptions and personal perceptions. That, in turn, can lead to bad hires

Based on this Harvard Business Review article, as much as 80% of employee turnover stems from bad hires, a fair part of them possibly resulting from unconscious bias. Hiring the wrong person and then starting the process from scratch is a costly and time-consuming process you should avoid.

Moreover, allowing bias to cloud your judgment when hiring can cost you a true talent. 60% of interviewers stated they decide on a candidate’s suitability within 15 minutes. Is that truly enough to test one’s skills? Since we’re currently in times of talent shortage, letting talent walk away for irrational reasons can prove even worse than making a bad hire. 

Recruitment bias is usually referred to when we talk about sexism, ageism, and so on. It can, however, take many different forms. So, let’s have a look at the 50 shades of bias. 

1. Similarity Bias

We, as humans, look for commonalities between us and other people all the time. The same process can emerge during an interview – it’s called similarity bias.

It occurs when a candidate seems much like the interviewer, thus making them believe they’d be the best fit for the job (or because they’d make better co-workers?). In this 2012 research, Rivera demonstrated that similarity is one of the biggest factors influencing attraction during an interview. Meaning, that those candidates similar to the interviewer have a higher chance of being offered the job. 

We tend to favour people with the same interests, personality, style, or background, and it can greatly influence a hiring decision, making us dismiss the truly important factor – skills.  

2. Recency Bias

Our brains are wired to remember most vividly information that was presented to us most recently. In an interview setting, this may lead to recency bias. Since our short-term memory lasts between 15-30 seconds, after hours of interviews you may have a better recollection only of the most recent candidate. 

This may lead to the last applicant you interviewed leaving a disproportionately strong impression on you, and most memorable – for better or worse. At the end of the day, you may not remember the person who impressed you in the morning and make you miss a great addition to the team.

3. Nonverbal Bias

Body language can be extremely easy to misinterpret because it varies from person to person and from culture to culture. As Malcolm Gladwell writes in his book Talking to Strangers, one’s group look of anger is another’s sad face. 

Personal interviews include many nonverbal cues, and if the interviewer puts too much priority on them it may lead to a nonverbal bias. A weak handshake, no eye contact, folded arms. How many times have we heard about the importance of those? Plenty. And for a good reason. As much as 55% of the information we convey comes from our body language. 

But can they be taken as a clear sign of being a good or bad fit for the job? No. The way a person moves through the world may show a thing or two about their personality, but at the end of a day, it’s not indicative of how successful of an employee they might be.

4. Halo & Pitchfork Effect

The halo effect is when a single positive characteristic or information about the candidate impresses you so much that it influences the entire interview. For instance, if your applicant has graduated from a prestigious university, it may make you see him as a stronger fit. 

The pitchfork bias does the exact opposite. It occurs when a negative trait or information sets the tone of the rest of the interview. If you see that your candidate’s last job lasted only four months, you may draw false conclusions because to you it relates to being lazy or unreliable. 

Let’s remember that a single piece of information is not enough to form the complete picture, hence judging your candidate through the prism of that is short of rational.

5. Contrast Bias

Do you know that trick based on optical illusion, where you are asked to decide whether two squares embedded within another two squares are the same shade of grey – and they turn out to be the same? Our cognitive abilities are reflected in the language and contrasting two or more items is a normal thing. It can, however, lead to contrast bias. 

Contrast bias is closely related to the recency bias, as it happens commonly when there are multiple interviews back-to-back. It occurs when a candidate is compared to another candidate interviewed before them. A strong candidate coming after a very bad one may seem even better than he actually is and vice versa. Contrast bias magnifies our perception of the candidate’s abilities, making us see things differently from what they are.

6. Confirmation Bias

This type of bias is the most common one, as it appears outside of the recruitment process daily. Confirmation bias means favouring information that confirms our pre-existing beliefs. It may, for example, mean preparing a set of interview questions based on a CV that will later during the interview prove or disprove our thesis about the candidate’s suitability. 

The problem is, by doing so we dismiss certain information that could be relevant. You shouldn’t try to validate your assumptions about a candidate but evaluate everything relevant.

Minimise bias in your recruitment process

Eliminating, or at least reducing, bias from interviews is a tedious and difficult process. But knowledge is power, so by acknowledging the existence of the biases mentioned above you’re already a step forward. Here are our 3 suggestions on how to un-bias your interviews.

1. Structure your interview or drop it completely

Following the research quoted by Harvard Business Review, unstructured interviews, i.e. those lacking pre-defined questions, are often unreliable when trying to predict the job success of a candidate. 

Standardise the interviewing process by crafting a list of questions. They should be relevant for the position and presented to all applicants in the same order. That way you can focus on the information about skills and experience rather than what the person is like. 

Structured interviews increase accuracy and reduce bias, as claimed by the 2002 study by Bauer & Baltes. That’s because a go-with-a-flow type of job interview is hardly accurate. You end up asking each candidate a different set of questions, very often based on their profile which in turn leads to a possible bias. 

As found in this Humanly article, a good way to start creating your list of questions is to focus on behavioural and situational questions. They allow your applicants to have enough room for expressing themselves – yet within the scope relevant to the job. Some of the questions mentioned in the article are:

  • Tell me about a time you failed. How did you deal with the situation and what did you learn?
  • What would you do if an important task was not up to standard, but the deadline to complete it had passed?

Interviews in the form of a casual conversation are more pleasant. However, they make it difficult to accurately compare the candidates afterwards and allow room for bias to emerge. 

Giving structure to the interview minimises such a risk. However, it is still not the most reliable screening method. As discussed in depth in our blog poststructured interviews scored only 0.51 points (on a scale from 0 to 1) in a study researching the predictive validity of different screening methods. For comparison, an unstructured interview scored 0.38 – which means they’re both not the most reliable methods of predicting future job performance. 

If you, however, opt for switching from interviews to case-based screenings combined with GMA (general mental ability test) – you’ll go from 0.51 (in the best case) to 0.63! Maybe the upgrade is worth rethinking?

2. Set criteria for the position

One of the biggest pearls of wisdom I’ve learned is that you cannot obtain your goals if you don’t know what you’re chasing after. And looking for the perfect talent is a goal to be chased. Therefore, you need to define specific criteria for the position.

Which skills are essential? Which can be learned? And which are simply nice to have? Make a list of the skills you require and rank them from most to least important. Doing so will allow you to diminish the bias by sticking to a given schema. Mark each candidate’s skills in a table and compare after the interview. This will give you a fairly good way of evaluating which applicant has the actually needed skills – and it may not necessarily be the one you thought!

3. The more – the wiser

The wisdom behind teamwork is, generally speaking, that groups tend to make more accurate judgments than a single person. Following that, incorporate multiple interviewers into the process. 

Having more interviewers minimises the risk of subjectivity – it’s no longer one person’s voice that matters. When your candidate has the chance to interact with different people, the risk of personal bias decreases. If one interviewer succumbs to bias and simply doesn’t feel like the applicant is the right fit, the other panel members can discuss the issue and decide whether the intuition is right or not.

4. Don’t rush it

As we mentioned before, our brains are wired to remember the most recent information the most. That being said, give yourself enough time for both the interviewing process and decision-making afterwards. 

Making rushed decisions may mean that you based it on bias, and that’s the last thing you want. Get together with other panel members, compare notes, discuss the interviewees, and make a collective, well-thought decision.

Conclusion

It’s sometimes difficult to realise all the biases around us, and especially those we succumb to ourselves. But they do occur, and they occur during job interviews, too. Each tip provided above helps minimise the impact of bias on the process, but it’s best to incorporate all of them at once. 

Unbiased interviews are not only fair for your applicants, but they also ensure you hire the best talent out there.

Top 3 Recruitment Challenges to Tackle in 2022

Top 3 Recruitment Challenges to Tackle in 2022

In the last week’s blog post we talked about five recruitment strategies to implement in the upcoming year, and now it’s time to have a look at recruitment challenges we may be facing in 2022.

The job market still hasn’t recovered from the fall it took because of the pandemic, and we’re already getting prepared for another year – perhaps not much easier than the past 18 months. With rising unemployment across the world, finding, hiring, and retaining talents is a growing challenge for many employers. Let’s dive into the top three recruitment challenges to tackle in 2022.

1. TALENT SHORTAGE

The talent shortage is one of the most discussed recruitment topics in recent years. Many companies are experiencing problems with filling up positions which in turn leads to loss of revenue. According to this extensive report by Korn Ferry, by 2030 more than 85 million jobs could be unfilled. And it’s not caused by automation or robots taking those jobs. It’s because there won’t be enough skilled people to take them.

As all eyes usually look up at the U.S. in many aspects, it appears that this prediction may have already started becoming true. As of July 2021, there were more than 10 million open positions in the U.S. alone, and yet businesses are scrambling to find new employees. It’s a contradictory situation – the U.S. is experiencing high unemployment and a labour shortage at the same time.

Based on a study conducted by the Global Supply Chain Institute at the University of Tennessee, cited in this article by Forbes, 91% of CEOs see a need to change their strategy for finding and recruiting talents. However, most of them (61%) claim they still haven’t taken any steps to do that.

What can be therefore done to tackle the challenge of talent shortage?

Change your hiring strategy

Based on statistics, such as the Korn Ferry report mentioned above, it looks like a talent shortage is neither going to slow down nor disappear after the pandemic work imbalances are dealt with. Therefore, recruitment teams need to develop a long-term strategy to attract talents in the next years.

If you want to overcome the talent challenge, you need to focus on adjusting your recruiting, training and retaining strategy to fit the circumstances. Some key aspects worth implementing/adjusting are the following.

Make talent a priority

If you want to retain your talents, show them that you see them as such. This report by WorkForce Institute shows that 57% of Gen Z worldwide expects to be promoted at least once a year. The generation you will soon be hiring knows its worth, and they expect you to acknowledge it, too. So don’t ignore that and award your employees when they deserve it, as it will motivate them even further.

Hire internally

Sometimes the right talent you need is closer than you think – in your own company. Whenever you’re trying to fill in a position and you’re struggling to find the right candidate, look around at your own employees. Internal hires are 1.7 times cheaper than the external ones, the promotion will motivate the employees even more (see above!), and you will save resources on onboarding. There is, however, a pitfall to this strategy. If you overuse it, you risk creating an echo chamber and miss on diversity. It is thus recommended to apply it carefully.

Offer internships

If you still don’t offer internships regularly – do it now. Many recruiters state that it’s hard for them to evaluate if candidates can do the job before they hire them. Why not test-drive the talent then? Offering internships in your company allows you to try out candidates before you hire them and – more importantly – gives you a chance to attract talents you may overlook otherwise.

Apply the right tools

Resumés and cover letters, although still a preferred form of screening, are not the best tools to predict a candidate’s fit for the position, and the costs of a bad hire can be as high as $15,000. It is, therefore, optimal to use tools that actually do show you whether the applicant has the right skills in practice, such as case-based screening.

As we mentioned in this blog post, case-based screening (together with the General Mental Ability Test) is the most successful available tool to predict future job performance. It gives everybody a chance to show their talent in an unbiased way and allows you to test one’s ability to solve tasks required in the job.

Solid results require solid, long-term strategies. And if you want to make sure to hire and retain your top talents and hire new ones, your recruitment team needs to implement sustainable programmes into their hiring processes. The talent shortage is going to stay with us for longer, so apply suitable strategies that help you fight the challenge.

2. ATTRACTING POTENTIAL EMPLOYEES

Now, we already know that talent shortage is a big issue. But what about those talents that are out there? How can you make sure they even take interest in your company? Talent shortage and the pandemic make it more challenging for many companies to convince people to choose your job offering over the others.

Following data from this article, three times more organisations are having difficulties attracting employees as compared to last year. Moreover, 70% of asked employers are expecting to still have those challenges throughout 2022. What are some possible reasons for this labour shortage?

The Conference Board’s Consumer Confidence Survey, cited in this CNBC article, shows that many workers believe they have the upper hand while looking for a job.

Over half (55%) of the respondents believe there is plenty of jobs to choose from, and only 12% believe jobs are hard to find. For comparison, in Q1 of 2021 only 25% stated that jobs were plentiful. Job seekers simply tend to think that it’s your job to come to them, not the other way around.

The pandemic also has a huge impact on the outlook job seekers have on working. The survey by Willis Towers Watson says that collecting unemployment benefits and postponing the return to work are the most common reasons for attraction and retention problems given by hospitality, restaurant, and warehouse workers.

The Wall Street Journal mentions another big factor for why people are hesitant about getting back to work – fear of COVID-19. Based on a survey from April 2021, more than 4 million people stated that they were out of jobs because they were afraid of contracting covid. On top of that, another 6.8 million said they had to stay at home to take care of children who couldn’t go back to school.

Currently, 73% of American employers are having trouble attracting new employees as compared to just 26% in 2020, and the issue is widely spread across different industries. What can you do as an employer to encourage people to work for you?

Be open about wages

Western society has an unwritten rule of not asking about one’s salary – but we all know that people go to work primarily to make a living.

The survey by HRD shows that for almost 56% of job seekers the most important aspect of a job application is seeing a salary range and information on offered benefits. Yet, it is still fairly uncommon, especially in Europe, to mention salary before the interview. Therefore, it’s crucial to be open about that in your job listing if you want to stand out.

Benefits

Salary, however important, is not the only thing that matters nowadays. To win the war for attracting new employees you will need to offer more than a monthly bank transfer. In order to attract potential employees to join your company, you should carefully plan your benefits package. For example, almost half (44%) of zoomers consider good healthcare coverage more important than paid time off. As time goes on, we are all more aware of the importance of healthcare, especially the mental one, so offering good health security for your employees is becoming a must.

It is generally best to research what your potential employees would be interested in most. A gym membership? Happy hours? Free snacks? Try to learn more about what they need and provide them with that option and surely, it’ll become an asset.

Human-friendly recruitment process

As an employer – and a brand – you’re responsible for ensuring the efficiency of the recruitment process as well as a positive employee experience. The survey by HRD mentioned above shows that almost 41% of the respondents consider a long-term relationship with the recruiter as the most important after the interview. Use it to your advantage and add all candidates – those you hired, and those you rejected – into your talent pool. Then, whenever you have a similar position to offer, don’t hesitate to notify those candidates you’d consider a good fit. Lastly, don’t forget about the courtesy of feedback. Whether it’s positive, or negative – we all want clarity, so opt for clear communication even after rejection.

3. REMOTE WORK

As the world became more and more digitalised, so did our work. Remote work is all but a new concept in the work environment, but the shift towards this mode of work has accelerated in the past 18 months because of the pandemic. Now working from home is no longer a preference – it’s a demand among employees to be allowed to work remotely whenever possible.

Based on the blog post by DataServ, it is estimated that by 2025 one in four Americans (i.e. around 36 million people) will be working remotely, which would mean an 87% increase from the pre-pandemic reality. It is great news to many employees, as working from home means more flexibility, saving on commuting, and having more freedom (no boss in sight!).

For employers, however, it poses certain challenges that need to be tackled.

Productivity – decline or improvement?

It’s no doubt that managing your work from a home office is more challenging than physically being in the office. It takes a mix of personality traits and skills for someone to thrive under such conditions. Although based on this research, productivity among employees working remotely tends to be high, it remains an area of concern to many employers, and especially their hiring teams.

As we mentioned in our previous post, from 2022 onwards your company should focus more on searching for the right soft skills in your candidates. To successfully assess the applicant’s ability to work outside your physical office, your recruitment team will now have to look out for candidates who are (among other things):

  • Independent
  • Self-motivated
  • Flexible
  • Proactive

Now, as straightforward as it looks, evaluating those skills can be difficult through the classic resumé-then-interview screening. Anyone can list having these skills on a paper, but how can you check if it’s true?

Applying case-based screening in your recruitment process has the potential to reveal at least two of the mentioned soft skills – and many more positive and sought-after personality traits! To begin with, the sole fact that your candidate decided to invest his time and other resources to solve your case means they can act and motivate themselves.

Another recommended way of assessing soft skills is by incorporating psychometric tests. They allow you to not only get insight into what personality traits your candidates have but also help you understand their strengths and weaknesses that can be used later to get out of them the most.

Communication & Synchronisation

Communication as such can be problematic in any type of environment, and the workplace (whether physical or digital) is no different.

Based on this State of Work 2021 report, 41% of the respondents said that the way they collaborate and communicate with co-workers has changed since they started working remotely. Moreover, 16% of them consider communication and collaboration as their biggest struggle with remote work.

The reasons for those struggles can of course be different and vary from team to team, but the ones that come to mind straight away are time zones and schedule management differences within teams.

Remote work makes it possible for people from around the world to join your company, which is great for enriching your diversity and talent. However, depending on the nature of work your employees do, the recruitment team may need to take into consideration certain limitations to ensure a positive employee experience for everyone.

The same issue may arise when it comes to collaboration. 32% of the respondents from the previously mentioned report claim that the ability to have a flexible schedule is the greatest benefit of remote work. What follows, however, is that in many cases it allows your employees to work when they want. And collaboration between a night owl and a morning riser can prove problematic in the long run.

As an employer (or a manager) it is your job to provide and maintain the right communication process, but it’s also up to your recruitment team to take a close look at candidates in terms of how they communicate, what their work schedule is, and how physically possible it is for them to follow your communication routines.

The possibility of hiring people remotely opens many doors with benefits behind them, but it can also pose challenges that need to be acknowledged and dealt with. 2020 changed the way we perceive remote work and, as a result, businesses must adapt to this new reality. The key is to be aware of the issues that may arise as well as remember what benefits we can draw from this.

CONCLUSIONS

2022 is undoubtedly going to be full of recruitment challenges, and the above ones we mentioned cover only the most prominent ones. Talent shortage, issues with attracting employees, and problems connected to introducing remote work as a staple are going to be the main ones we will have to tackle. Make sure you acknowledge them now so that they don’t become a bigger problem down the line.

5 Recruiting Strategies to Implement in 2022

5 Recruiting Strategies to Implement in 2022

The past 18 months have put us through many challenges that changed our mindsets and expectations on both personal and professional levels. We learned the importance of human bonds, stability, respect, and unity – it’s all about people again. Those re-invented values are expected to be guiding the recruitment processes in 2022 and most likely in the years to come. Are you ready to succeed in the race for the best talent out there? Here are our five recruiting strategies to implement in 2022.

1. Make remote recruitment a staple

The most visible impact Covid-19 had on us all is the introduction of remote work on a daily basis. According to Pew Research Center, the number of surveyed Americans working from home grew by 51% counting from before the pandemic, to its middle stage in December 2020. Moreover, 54% of the respondents claimed they’d like to keep working remotely after the pandemic ends.

Certainly, the willingness – and sometimes necessity – of employees to work remotely forced many employers to quickly adjust their recruitment strategies to fit the demands, and it looks like this outlook is staying with us for longer.

Remote work yields several benefits for employees, but also for you as an employer. Online recruitment speeds up the hiring process and saves money. But most importantly, it makes recruitment much easier and more diverse. The fact that you can hire people from around the world means your talent pool is quite literally unlimited. That means a wider opportunity for you to find a fitting candidate as well as introduce more diversity into the company ­– something many companies are striving for more and more.

As they say, competition doesn’t sleep, and it couldn’t be truer in this case. While two years ago offering work from home (WFH) was an asset, now it’s more of a necessity. It no longer makes you stand out as an employer, it means you don’t fall behind. As one research shows, 54% of workers would quit their job if they couldn’t work from home. Another shows that 80% of respondents said they wouldn’t accept a job not offering flexible working. 

If you want to even be considered an attractive employer in 2022, your HR needs to meet the highly demanded expectation of offering remote work, and what follows – remote recruitment and onboarding. That’s step #1. If you want to increase your chances of attracting the best talent out there, then….

2. Assure positive candidate experience

Last year, I landed an interview at a company with a good reputation and even better pay. Needless to say – I was very excited, especially since it was harsh to find a job during the pandemic. I knew this position would be a big chance for me, so I took time and prepared my best.

Long story short – the meeting was horrible. The interviewers were late, they kept exchanging smirks with each other, asked personal questions I wasn’t comfortable answering. I was promised to have feedback by Friday, yet I never heard from them again. The experience left such a bad taste in my mouth that I left a bad online review of the company and made sure to discourage my friends from applying there. Perhaps my reaction was exaggerated, but how many candidates like me do you want your company to have?

Candidate experience pre, during, and post-recruitment contributes to your employer branding and can affect your company’s reputation in the job market. It also affects the kinds of talents you attract and retain. As we mentioned in this article, by 2030 we will be faced with a talent shortage of more than 85 million people. Considering that and tight competition all around – the companies cannot allow bad reputation to cause loss of any potential talents.

As the world is becoming more and more digital, it’s the role of HR in creating, updating, and monitoring the brand’s reputation as it affects both your present and future employees.

Based on a survey conducted by Kelly Services, 97% of candidates who had a positive experience with your company’s recruitment process would encourage others to apply, and 55% of them would share their positive experiences on social media. Hence, assuring a positive candidate experience not only betters your reputation but also attracts new talents long after the interview is finished.

This is especially important now while we’re about to get out of the pandemic. People will want to join companies that show they value and appreciate their (potential) employees. Covid-19 has changed our perception of various things, one of them being the way we evaluate employers. We will now pay more attention to the organisations that show respect and appreciation – and the way to go is to start with assuring the best candidate experience from the get-go. 

3. Maximise employee retention, minimise bad hires

The pandemic affected financially nearly every person in the world, and businesses were no exception. Companies were forced to lay off many employees, quite likely many of them being good. Almost every business, no matter how big, hat to cut down their budges significantly, and that’s why now ­– more than ever – we cannot afford bad hires and the loss of the good ones.

We mentioned in the previous blog post that a bad hire costs the employer around 15,000$, and losing a good hire is double – 30,000$. If your company makes just one bad judgment and loses one good employee in a year – you’ll lose 45,000$. It’s a lot of money that could be spent differently.

Stepping into 2022 should be marked with implementing the use of tools that prevent the two problems mentioned, and one of them is case-based screening.

Case-based recruitment to predict better applicant performance

Case-based screening is a screening tool that allows your candidates to show their potential in practice so that it’s easier for you to determine whether they have the actual skills required for the position – something not so easy to do in a ‘regular’ screening process.

52% surveyed HR leaders stated that the hardest part of recruitment is to determine which candidates from a big pool are the best choice. Why is that? Well, the answer might be that a great deal of recruitments is still based on resumés and cover letters which don’t seem to be the best indicator of one’s potential. In fact, following the article by Talents Unlimited, the correlation between experience and job performance in the future is only 0.06 on a scale from 0 to 1.

Meanwhile, in contrast, a study by Schmidt & Hunter from 1998 proved the predictive validity of case-based screening combined with the GMA (General Mental Ability Test) to be a whopping 0.63!

The way to go now ­– and post-pandemic – is to work on maximising employee retention and minimising bad hires. Looking for the right talent is a tough job, so why not focus on keeping the ones you already have? And to make sure you avoid hiring the wrong candidates, start applying the tools that work – such as case-based screening.

4. Put soft skills into the spotlight

Following McKinsey, over the next decade or so the implementation of automation and AI, combined with a talent shortage, will transform the workplace specifics even more than they have so far. Machines and the overall automation will bring certain benefits such as higher productivity, but they will also contribute to the change of skills required of human employees. What is one thing that (so far!) machines lack, compared to humans? Soft skills.

For a very long time hard skills were considered the most important in any recruitment process – the higher the competencies, the better. But with time it became clearer that while hard skills can be learnt, soft skills must be earned, mostly through experience. Shortly – hard skills without soft skills don’t assure success.

In a report from 2017, mentioned in the article by Torque Business, it is estimated that soft skill-based professions will make up at least two-thirds of all jobs by the year 2030. It is therefore logical to assume that it’s time to start adjusting the recruitment approach now and focus on more than degrees.

The soft skills that will matter the most in 2022

According to the article mentioned above, some of the soft skills that will matter the most in 2022 (and onwards) are:

  • Emotional intelligence
  • Adaptability & resilience
  • Integrity & ethics
  • Creativity
  • Teamwork

With the skill deficit deepening year by year, it’ll be a hard task for HR to find individuals with the right soft skills. Finding and retaining the right talents for your business is crucial for long-term success. Hard skills such as education are currently of no concern. In 2018 alone, approximately 4 million European students graduated from tertiary education. It’s therefore important to look past that and focus more on soft skills to ensure a well-trained workforce that can take your company to the next level.

5. Target Gen Z

Knowing how to target different generations with your recruitment process is a key factor for successful hires. And now, as Generation Z (zoomers) is entering the workforce, it’s time to start tailoring your recruitment process to suit them.

Gen Z, like any previous or future generation, is characterised by specific values and expectations that need to be considered when attempting to attract them. Not surprisingly, the biggest trait defining Gen Z is undoubtedly technology, and it’s through its implementation in the recruitment process that you can become an employer of interest in their eyes.

Millennials were to ones to see technology grow, but zoomers are the ones that have been immersed in it since they were born, they are digital natives. Hence, to target them successfully, you need to know their technology and get fully online. Based on the report by WorkForce Institute, 21% of zoomers would not tolerate outdated technology in their workplace. The best way to prove them wrong, therefore, is to fully adapt the recruitment process to the technology they use.

Be digital

Start simple – make sure your application process is fully mobile-friendly. The youngest generation considers e-mails to be passé, they grew up with instant messaging and sending quick Snapchat, not novels. According to this brief by BenefitsPro, 70% of job seekers search for job offers using smartphones and tablets. Therefore, you should make it possible for them to apply on their phones within a few clicks.

You’ll also find that recruiting this generation will require you to post bite-sized content, preferably in a high-quality video format. They’d rather watch a quick video presenting your company than read your career portal. The year 2022 may be the high time for your company to revamp the website and make it more GenZ-friendly.

It feels like yesterday when Millennials were ready to change the world, but now we need to get ready to welcome another generation. One, that is an absolute must for HR teams to attract, since they will soon make up most of the workforce.

Conclusion

Your recruitment process needs to change together with the world to keep pace, and nowadays the HR industry is now less about paper-pushing and more about diversity, modern technology, and adaptation. Rapid changes in recent years have brought about new trends that should be adopted to attract and maintain the right talents, bringing profit to everybody involved.

Regardless of what recruitment strategies are trending, the final objective is always the same – building your brand with the right talents in a way that enhances their experience. 

Top 5 advantages of case-based screening

Top 5 advantages of case-based screening

The availability of the assessment tools is generally very broad. From the most common unstructured interviews and resumés to the job tryout procedures and work sample tests. It is not a surprise that the recruitment sphere is changing every year. Whether it is the recruitment or the candidates themselves. However, it is always a good tip to keep up with those changes to make your hiring process successful.

In a new Korn Ferry study that includes a sweeping country-by-country analysis, researchers found that by the year 2030, there will be a global human talent shortage of more than 85 million people. However, this does not mean that people don’t have talent. We know that everyone has talent, they just need a chance to show it.

Therefore, recruiters need to give everyone a chance to showcase their full potential. Choosing the right assessment tools is the key factor when it comes to the company’s prospects, employer brand, talent acquisition, overall candidate’s experience, and other factors that influence the company’s operations.

Case-based screening

As mentioned at the beginning of this blog, there is a lot of ways of assessing potential candidates. All screening methods dispose of different qualities, different abilities to predict future job performance, different levels of transparency, the diverse need for resources, and much more. Therefore, we can agree that all assessment methods have different perks and drawbacks. However, some of them have more pluses and some of them have more minuses.

In the previous blog post, we talked about the meta-analysis conducted by Schmidt & Hunter in 1998, where they looked through 85 years of research findings, evaluating the predictive validity of different assessment tools.

Work sample tests in the combination with the GMA (General mental ability test) obtained the best score in the conducted meta-analysis, with a score of 0.63 on the scale from zero to one. In other words, the ability of the cases to predict a candidate’s future job performance is quite high, which is one of the biggest advantages of the case-based screening itself. But let us talk about this later in the blog post.

What is the recruitment case?

So, before we dive more into the other perks of cases in recruitment. Let’s take a closer look at what exactly are those work sample tests or recruitment cases.

In 2006, Ployhart introduced a definition of the recruitment case which explains that it is “a test in which the applicant performs a selected set of actual tasks that are physically and psychologically similar to those performed on the job.”

So, what exactly does it mean? When you are hiring new employees, they will be introduced to a set of tasks that correspond to the tasks that are performed at the position they are applying for. For instance, a candidate applying for a sales assistant position will be asked to solve a case consisting of sales-related tasks.

The recruitment case usually consists of two – four tasks that will take 30-120 minutes for candidates to solve, depending on the complexity.

The top 5 advantages of Recruitment cases: Why use them?

As we mentioned before, one of the biggest advantages of using recruitment cases is their ability to predict how will the candidate perform in his/her future position. However, by using recruitment cases you can achieve even more than that. Let’s take a closer look at the different perks of this assessment method.

Predict not assume

As we mentioned above, the biggest advantage of case-based screening is the fact that this assessment tool used alongside the GMA (General mental ability test) is the most successful when it comes to the prediction of future job performance. (0.63 points on the scale from 0 to 1)

In comparison with the resumés, where the biggest aim is on previous experience and education, showed a correlation of 0.06 between previous experience and job performance.

It is crucially important to predict how well will the candidate perform the job in question, and that is where case-based screening comes to the game. Prediction based on showcased skill set, knowledge, and approach administrated directly on the tasks similar to the ones performed at the job will provide you with a better overview than just a piece of paper with the keywords and headline resumé.

This leads us to another advantage which is directly influenced by the predictive validity and that is avoided bad hires.

Avoid bad hire

The survey conducted by CareerBuilder shows that nearly three in four employers are affected by a bad hire. Did you know that the average cost of one bad hire is nearly 15,000$? However, 40% of the companies which participated in the mentioned survey admitted that they had spent at least 25,000$, and 25% of them had paid more than 50,000$ for poor hires. How come those payments are that high?

The reason is that employees with bad performance will affect the overall performance of the team which might lead to negative future results. An unhealthy working environment has a negative effect on innovation, employee motivation, results, etc.

And not only that, but bad hires might also increase employee turnover, cause the overall employer brand and morale to decline, and negatively affect organizational culture.

To avoid bad hires, recruiters should focus on having a broad talent pool for every job opening. As well as having a recruitment strategy that will provide them with a realistic preview of the candidate’s skill set, experience, and knowledge.

Keep the talent

As we mentioned before, the talent shortage is challenge companies have to deal with. Korn Ferry conducted another survey with 1,500 leaders around the world, and 66% of them said that there will be a shortage of talent by 2020. However, 95% of them are ensured that their company will not be experiencing any problems regarding the talent shortage.

Let’s use resumés as an example. A lot of people are familiar with the information that the majority of resumés are screened by ATS tools.

Previously, I have seen a post on LinkedIn, from a girl who was applying for a position at Spotify. Therefore, she designed her resumé in a Spotify theme and many people advised her to redo the resumé because it will not make it through the ATS.

We can agree that by using ATS tools, recruiters can actually lose talented applicants. According to CareerBuilder, the average cost of losing a good hire is nearly 30,000$. And that is just because candidates chose a wrong selection of the keywords, or they have focused on the design rather than the keywords.

This is an example of how important it is to use appropriate screening methods that will give everyone a chance to unleash their full potential.

Candidate experience

Candidates preserve recruitment cases to be favourable in terms of fairness. In the two most extensive meta-analyses, recruitment cases, have been rated second overall in perceived fairness. How come? The reason is the information provided by the candidates and the company itself. Candidates will usually provide, before the actual solution, nothing but their email addresses. On the other hand, the company will provide candidates with a realistic job preview. That means a company is honest about the job in question as well as the challenges included.

This creates a fair and transparent recruitment process, which creates a foundation for a successful employer brand. And successful and well-managed employer brand is a key to attracting more and more applicants which also creates diversity within your workplace. So, let us dive more into that.

Strenghten your Employer brand

What is an employer brand? Employer brand or employer branding is the perception of your company as an employer between the job seekers, potential candidates, employees, and stakeholders. It is the process of managing and influencing your reputation between the mentioned parties and a picture of what kind of values the company gives to its employees.

According to LinkedIn, 75% of candidates will research a company’s reputation before applying for an open job position, and other researchers discovered that a strong employer brand reduces employee turnover by 28% and cost per hire by 50%.

There is a lot of ways how to build and strengthen your employer brand, however, the hiring process is one of the most important assets of employer branding. Do you wonder why?

The hiring process or recruitment is usually one of the first and most important professional encounters of potential candidates with your company, and it has a huge impact on your employer brand. Therefore, it is important to manage recruiting carefully and with respect. Studies suggest that 61% of employees over the age of 45 have either personally experienced or seen discrimination at work.

As mentioned before, case-based screening is a transparent and fair recruitment process that removes any type of bias from the hiring processes, meaning it eliminates the presence of discrimination. This is a huge asset to your employer brand, since people value and remembers the way how they were treated during the hiring process, despite the fact of they were hired or not.

As mentioned before, case-based screening brings along a lot of advantages. Building your employer brand is one of them, but don’t forget that one thing leads to another, and in the end, the case-based screening will create an actual chain that might result in the positive prospects of your company.

Bring your recruitment process into 21st century

Bring your recruitment process into 21st century

Did you know that the recruitment we know today was originated as a product of World War II? During such a period a lot can change, and recruitment is no exception. Whether it is the recruitment processes, tools, or employees themselves. With the modernized and advancing world digitalization. And a new Generation X which currently forms a large part of the people who constantly seek new job opportunities, change within hiring is gaining momentum. And we are here to help you bring your recruitment process into the 21st century.

The history of the recruitment

As we mentioned before, recruitment we know nowadays was first established during World War II. There were a lot of free vacancies left behind by the departed soldiers, that needed to be fulfilled by the new workers. And this situation created a foundation for the “birth” of staffing agencies. But the staffing agencies did not end their operation after the War, they continued to find work for the men and women who were returning from their military service.

The beginning of resumés

The article by Perelson made it clear, the following decade belonged to the resumés. Recruiters were focusing on linking the right candidates with the right jobs. If we compare the process with the one, we have today, we can all imagine there was a huge difference. Before, staffing companies needed to follow job ads in the newspapers, and candidates needed to submit their resumés by hand or mail.

When it comes to recruiters, they needed to keep track of non-digital resumés. But there are several different recruitment methods that were used and popularized during the following decades. We created a blog post based on a meta-analysis by Schmidt & Hunter (1998), that talks about the recruitment methods and their ability to predict future job performance based on the 85 years of research.

The (new) era

As we mentioned at the beginning, the world started to change. The computers and applicant tracking systems (ATS) came into the game, and the hiring process suddenly became faster and easier.

The birth of Worldwide web and Social media

With the web that started to reach all possible corners of the world, recruiters were able to move from local recruitment to hiring employees worldwide. And of course, social media enabled them to widen their reach and target more and more possible employees, again on a worldwide scale.

The recruitment process became faster and easier for everybody, recruiters were using databases to find the right employees, and on the other hand, candidates were able to submit their resumés online from the comfort of their homes.

The change

We can all agree that the development of the recruitment sphere is a good thing. But there are other problems that emerge from this huge change. For instance, talent shortage, bad hires, and a highly competitive environment. Let us take a closer look.

Talent shortage

Korn Ferry conducted a study, that shows that there will be a talent shortage of more than 85 million people by the year 2030. And why is that? It is important for companies to build their own talent pool, and as well as to give all candidates the opportunity to showcase their full potential and talents.

Some of the recruitment methods can limit your diversity and candidate pool. Using biases in recruitment is, unfortunately, a common thing and there is a lot of tools nowadays that will help you and your company to eliminate the usage of bias.

For instance, let’s talk about anonymous recruitment. Innoflow is a software company based on anonymous case-based recruitment. The thing is that candidates will submit nothing else, but their solution and they will be evaluated based on their current skills, abilities, and knowledge.

Some people simply do not have the skills for writing excellent resumés and some of them might include false information. As a result, your company might be losing a talented employee due to the resumés that do not match the requirements of the ATS tools being used.

Avoiding bad hire and keep the good one    

                               

Did you know that the approximate cost of one bad hire is around 15,000$? According to the article by Career Builder, the cost of losing one good hire is up to 30,000$. Bringing your recruitment process into the 21st century and using all the perks which this decade has to offer, you can target, reach, and test the right and qualified candidates for your open job position in order to avoid a bad hire.

Organizations which put a solid plan into development are likely not only to attract but also retain competent candidates. Candidates feel comfortable and safe where the organization supports them. (Holbeche, 2004)

Competitive environment

Lack of talent, the different mindsets of employees, etc., contribute to the growing competition in the recruitment market. Therefore, it is important for companies to attract and keep their talents and employees. And how can it be done? By building your employer brand and knowing your target group.

Why should you make your recruitment up to date?

As you can see, we named a few points that are the problems and challenges of the modern world recruitment. Your recruitment is more than a well-written job post. You need to focus on way more things than that.

Attracting the right candidates, avoiding bad hires, and avoiding losing the good ones is a product of continuous progress and work. Keeping your recruitment modern is a way how to do it. You need to consider how to target the candidates you need. For instance, there is a difference between how to approach the older generations and the modern generation X.

Why use what the 21st century has to offer? The answer is simple. There is no quicker, easier, and impactful way to reach and attract many potential employees if you use the right methods and tools.

You need to keep up with the change in order to succeed.

How to bring your recruitment process into the 21st century?

Use what the modern age has to offer. Let’s take a closer look at how to make the most out of it.

Understand and analyse your target group

As the blog post by Business stated, people who were not old enough to work ten years ago, now make up much of the workforce. Generation X are people under the age of 30. They are considered as “the first truly global generation”. What does it mean for recruiters?

This generation was introduced and exposed to a digital sphere from early childhood. The variety of the courses and information that have been accessible to them is incomparable to the generation before. Therefore, it is important for you to analyse the current workforce. Who do I want to target? Where are they active the most? Is it Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, etc.? What wording should you use? How to attract them?

Writing a job post without digital visualizations, emojis or hashtags will not catch the eye of that many people. As well as posting into every possible channel if the right candidates you are looking for are not present on that concrete platform.

That moves us to another section about the usage of social media, and how to choose the right ones for you and your recruitment.

Use Social Media channels

The rise in technology and social media has made it easier and quicker to access a huge number of people. On the other hand, you need to make sure to target the candidates you want. And with this number of various social media sites, it might be harder for you to find and choose the sites you need.

While deciding which social media platforms to use, ask yourself the following questions:

How do you want to present yourself?

Using social media is one of the best ways how to showcase and promote your employer brand to the people. And what has employer brand to do with the recruitment? The answer is everything. Most of the candidates visit social media channels of the companies before applying for the job to find out more about their culture, values, office life, etc.

Using social media and building your employer brand is not a short-term commitment. Look at your long-term goals when it comes to building your employer brand. That will help you answer this question as well as the ones below.

Where can you find your target audience?

While looking at the variety of available social media sites, do not only pay attention to the number of active users. Why? For instance, According to the article by Hiring Workopolis, Facebook has more than 1.7 billion active users. But how many users come from your target group? As mentioned before, you need to know your target audience to be successful in your strategy.

What platforms are used by your competitors?

Learning about your competitors can bring a new perspective to your recruiting strategy. Knowing where and how they recruit may help you to find out more about your target audience. You will be able to see how they engage, react, respond, etc.

Which sites are best suited for the posts you want to make?

Firstly, every social media page has a different format when it comes to the “perfect” content. Secondly, you need to look into your content calendar. What kind of content are you planning to share? Is it links to webinars, podcasts? Photos from your everyday office life? Based on this you will be able to determine which direction to go.

And do not forget to be efficient. There are many available tools that will help you save your precious time. For instance, Buffer. Buffer allows you to connect your other social media sites to the platform, and it enables you to schedule and publishes your content automatically from one place.

Make your process mobile-friendly

Did you know that, according to the article by Jobcast, 72% of active candidates say they have viewed a company career site on their mobile phone? And that, 30% of mobile users abandon sites after 6-10 seconds if they are not mobile friendly?

Imagine somebody who is seeing your job ad online. Ask yourself, what would they like to do with it?

Maybe they want to share the open job position with a friend or complete the application process, and they expect all of this to be done on their mobile device.

Make it visually appealing

As we mentioned at the beginning, a simple post without any visuals, emojis or other addons will hardly catch the eye of a browsing user. Use what the 21st century has to offer, go with videos, photos, gifs, animated content, and other posts that will represent your company and your employer brand, and at the same time, catch the attention and create engagement.

There are many available tools that will help you create amazing content. For instance, Canva, where you can create everything from images, animated posts to videos, and much more.

Make it accessible to everyone

We all know that diversity of your workplace is one of the key factors of success. And to make it work, you need to make sure your recruitment is accessible to everyone. Think about screen reader compatibility, use video captions, include alt-text attributes to your content, think about colour contrast, etc.

By making your website and product accessible, you are widening your talent pool, and making sure that everybody will have a decent user experience. You can team up with third-party providers such as Equalweb, which is a world accessibility solution, that will help you implement Al solutions powering accessibility.

The world is changing, and so is recruitment. Keeping up with those changes and bringing your recruitment into the 21st century brings many benefits to not only your recruitment but to your company in general. Finding the right candidates, building your talent pool, keeping the talent, building your employer brand, spreading awareness, all of those and much more are the perks modernization can bring to your business.

Everything starts with research and planning. Detailed mapping of your own strategy, target audience, competitors, etc., will help you set the foundation and determine the best direction for your 21st centurial recruitment. Appreciate the offerings that the 21st century has brought to us, and do not be afraid to make the most out of it.

Succeed with unbiased recruitment: don’t just blind the resumé, remove it completely

Succeed with unbiased recruitment: don’t just blind the resumé, remove it completely

Workplace diversity. Many companies are using this term as their mission and goal. Apart from a better company reputation, higher innovation, and faster problem-solving, diversity improves hiring results and reduces employee turnover. A report from McKinsey & Company shows that diverse organizations simply perform better. But also, a mission like this is threatened by other factors, such as biases. So, how can we overcome our biases and succeed with unbiased recruitment? Blinding assessment tools could be the first step, but does it really make our hiring process unbiased?

The way we think

Let’s start where it all begins – in our minds. Daniel Kahneman and Amos Tversky conducted a groundbreaking work, where they explain how we make decisions. Their research shows, that our brain has two operating systems, which are referred to as System 1 and System 2. (Kahneman & Tversky, 1974).

It is a commonplace observation that there seem to be two kinds of thinking. One fast and intuitive and the other slow and deliberative.” (Evans, 2011)

A: System 1

According to the reference page Suebehavioural design, system 1 makes 98% of all our thinking. Daniel Kahneman characterizes System 1 as a fast, automatic, habitual, and effortless type of thinking. So, what exactly happens in our brain? System 1 is influenced by experiences, emotions, and memories. As a result, most of our reasoning and judgments are unconscious and based on intuition. (Kahneman & Tversky, 1974).

“System 1 is essentially what automatically comes up in your memory. For instance, when I say 2+2, something will come to your mind.“ Says Daniel Kahneman in his video interview, where he explains his findings.

This type of thinking has a large capacity, which allows us to process large amounts of information in a short time. (Evans, 2011) On average we all have about 35,000 decisions to make each day. It could be a decision about whether you will take the stairs or elevator, use the blue or black pen, etc. Some of the decisions are more important, and some of them are more difficult.

The task of our System 1 is to take care of decisions that are more familiar, by turning them into routines and habits. In fact, our System 1 will go through the information, choices, and ideas. Sometimes without us even noticing and therefore, sometimes we make decisions without controlling them.

As the article by Scientific American stated, System 1 is superior in its ability to automatically and effortlessly direct everyday life. It is important to state that neither of the Systems is all bad or all good. System 2 helps us do more reasonable and logical decisions based on facts. And System 1 helps us to save our cognitive capacity by creating decision rules.

B: System 2

The reference page, Suebehavioural design based on the theory of Kahneman & Tversky, stated that System 2 makes 2% of all our thinking (Kahneman & Tversky, 1974). They described this type of thinking as slow, rational, conscious, effortful, and risk assessing. As a result, our judgments and decisions are based on examination which is influenced by facts, logic, and evidence.

Sometimes System 2 enables us to see things that System 1 doesn’t.“- Daniel Kahneman.

So, how do those two types of thinking function in our brain? Our system 1 serves as a shield for our system 2. Imagine, that every decision you make has to be consciously processed by your brain. The consequence of this would be cognitive overload. Therefore, System 1 is sorting and prioritizing our decisions. This type of thinking generates shortcuts, also referred to as heuristics, which take care of the less important and habitual decisions.

As a result, the most important ones are then sent and processed by System 2. What are those heuristics which process the majority of our decisions? Let’s find out.

Heuristics – our automated brain work

We are always trying to preserve energy and cognitive resources. Therefore we try to make decisions as easy as possible by using System 1 first. As mentioned before, our System 1 generates shortcuts, which Daniel Kahneman called heuristics, to save mental energy for our deliberate brain (System 2). These heuristics are characterized as fast and intuitive, we sometimes refer to them as our common sense or intuition.

So, as mentioned before, System 1 helps to prevent our brain from cognitive overload. By using shortcuts that take care of habitual and less difficult decisions.

Suebehavioral design provided a concrete definition of heuristics:” Any approach to problem-solving that employs a practical method, not guaranteed to be perfect or rational. But instead sufficient for reaching an immediate goal.”

Let’s look at their work in practice.

Anchor heuristics

One of the examples could be the anchor heuristics. People tend to perceive the first available piece of information they have received as a reference point and unconsciously use it to “anchor“ or build their decision-making process on that piece of information. And we use it even if the initial information is incorrect or incomplete (Tversky & Kahneman, 1974) To explain how this works in practice, we will take a look at an example.

You want to buy a car and therefore checks the average price online, which is 100.000,- kr. You go to a dealership where you are offered a price of 90.000,- kr., you quickly accept the price because it is below your expectation, i.e. your anchor. The problem is, however, that your swift decision to purchase ruled out the possibility to check out a different dealership, which offers the car for 85.000,- kr. Instead of searching for every available information, we tend to favor the initial information provided to us.

Biases – the wrong heuristics

The issue with heuristics is that they might be potentially wrong. Heuristics are decisions made without complete information. Therefore, we have to have in mind that they are just mental shortcuts of which purpose is to find a solution as fast as possible while ignoring other aspects of the problem. As a result, heuristics affect our decision making and they could lead to a systematic deviation from rational behavior – called biases.

Cognitive biases

Do we really use biases while we think? The answer is yes. First, we need to explain what exactly are those biases. According to the article by Psychology Today: “Cognitive biases are repeated patterns of thinking that can lead to inaccurate or unreasonable conclusions.“ A bias can be described as a tendency or prejudice against someone or something. But the thing is that biases are often based on stereotypes, rather than actual knowledge.

Bias – the challenge of a transparent recruitment

Think about recruitment. When a recruiter is having an interview with an applicant, the decision of whether the person will be hired can be made in the first 10 minutes. And why is that? Because of our heuristics and biases. As soon as the person enters the room, our system 1 makes a first mostly unconscious judgment based on our heuristics. This decision then leads to a certain bias, for instance, it could be a stereotyping bias (person wears glasses, so we think he/she is smart) or liking bias.

Now that we understand how we think and how we make decisions, we can move forward and talk about recruitment biases in depth. How do biases affect the impartial recruitment process and what actions could be taken in order to prevent their use?

At the beginning of this blog post, we talked about how important workplace diversity is for every company. The article by Crowdstaffing made it clear: “The hidden danger in the form of recruiting bias means that you are limiting your candidate selection during the hiring process.“ To say it differently, you are limiting your workplace diversity.

So, what kind of biases do we use when we assess applicants?

Similarity bias

Similarity bias also referred to as Ingroup bias, means you will hire those applicants who are more similar to you. For instance, you have similar hobbies, interests or you attended the same high school, etc. Making friends is one thing, but making sure that you will create a successful environment by diversifying the workplace is something else. You need to have in mind that all positions have different competencies and hobbies are not the right factor to predict how good will the person perform in their future position.

Halo effect

The halo effect can be observed when a positive first impression of an applicant influences the overall perception of them. Basically, if you know the person is good at A. You automatically assume she or he is good at B, C, and D. For example, a good-looking person will be automatically considered to be an overall good human being who is intelligent and funny.

Attribution error

According to Simply Psychology: “Attribution error is a tendency for people to over-emphasize dispositional or personality-based explanations for behaviors observed in others while under-emphasizing situational explanations.“

In other words, people have a cognitive bias to attribute other people’s actions to their personality. Rather than taking into consideration environmental and social forces that might be influencing the person’s behavior.

For instance, a person could be late for a job interview due to a car accident or an unexpected family emergency. The recruiter will automatically think the person is irresponsible and not capable of time management.

Intuition – the tool of recruiters

Highouse (2008) wrote an interesting article about how recruiters believe that the prediction of human behavior can be improved through experience and that recruiters to some degree relied on intuition (System 1) in decision-making.

Perhaps the greatest technological achievement in organizational psychology over the past year is the development of decision aids (tests, cases, structured interviews) that substantially reduce error in the prediction of employee performance (Schmidt & Hunter, 1998). Arguably, the greatest failure of organizational psychology has been the inability to convince employers to use them.“ (Highhouse, 2008).

Even though we have access to alternative selection tools, recruiters still tend to favor resumés and unstructured interviews which obtained lower scoring in the conducted meta-analysis by Schmidt & Hunter in 1998. We have written a blog post aimed at assessing tools and their ability to predict future job performance. And for instance, unstructured interviews obtained a score of 0.38 on the scale from 0 to 1 in the conducted meta-analysis.

Blinded resumé, will the bias disappear?

Behaghel (2014) analyzed the experiment on the effects of anonymous applications. Recruiters couldn’t read names, addresses, nationality, or other identifying indicators which are usually included in the resumés. The results showed that some of the applicants were actually harmed by using anonymous applications.

“The interview rate worsens by 10 percentage points between minority and majority of candidates when resumés are made anonymous. The effect could be also seen beyond resumés screening, where the hiring gap differs by 4 points.“

In the previous article, we talked about assessment tools and their ability to predict future job performance. When it comes to resumés, work experience and educational background are the most observed and assessed sections.

But is the resumé the best way how to predict whether is the candidate a good fit? Can we limit biases while using this assessment tool?

The starting point is awareness

We can see clearly that the combination of biases and resumés is quite a common thing. Whether is it a good resumé or the hobbies which are included match one of yours. That is the thing about biases. Even though we feel confident about not having them, it is a commonplace observation that everybody has biases, whether they are conscious or unconscious. The good thing is that we can limit our biases if we are aware of having them. But blinding the assessment tools might not be the most effective solution. Therefore the best solution would be to use completely unbiased assessment tools such as case-based screening.

Conducted survey shows that by a factor of more than 3 to 1, HR professionals agreed that using tests was an effective way how to evaluate a candidate’s suitability. He also explained that the same professionals agreed by the factor of more than 3 to 1, you can learn more about candidates when you are “reading between the lines” while interviewing them. (Highhouse, 2008)

This created a common belief that a matter of experience and intuition (System 1) is a way how to do a good hire. But is it really so? Will we rely on predicting a candidate’s likelihood of success based on the ability “to read between the lines”? The research on predicting human behavior shows that experience does not improve predictions. (Highhouse, 2008)

The bias impact on recruitment

First of all, we need to say that Heuristics aren’t necessarily bad – we can make good decisions using heuristics. But biases are always bad and they lead to systematic errors. Let’s take a look at the possible consequences of making biased decisions.

Bertrand & Mullainathan performed a field experiment to measure racial discrimination in 2003. They responded to help-wanted ads in newspapers in Boston and Chicago with fake resumés. Some of the resumés had better quality (more experience, etc.), and some of them disposed of with lower quality (less experience, no higher education, etc). They randomly assigned either a very African American sounded name or a very White sounded name to each resumé. The results show that African-American names received 50% fewer callbacks than the resumés with other names. (Betrand & Mullainathan, 2003) We can clearly see how important it is to make biases disappear from the hiring process.

The blog post from Forbes also talks about a study, conducted by Yale University, that found that female scientists, both trained to be objective, also used biases while recruiting. Even though they were both trained to be objective, they were more likely to hire men and consider them more competent than women.

Be unbiased

As we can see biases are part of us even though we don’t know about them. But the knowledge that we have them can lead to their successful limitation. Blinding of the resumés and other assessment tools might be the option. But is blindness a 100% reliable factor to overcome our biases? As we mentioned before. Anonymously made resumés could actually harm some of the applicants. There is a lot of assessment tools to choose from, and some of them can provide you with a totally unbiased hiring process. Think about cases, case-based screening will include nothing but the solution which is based on the questions built on the job or task in question.

As we mentioned at the beginning, diversity is a driving factor to achieve positive future prospects and results. Don’t let biased recruitment influence your firm’s outlook. And give people the opportunity to showcase their talent with a fair and transparent recruitment process.

*The article was based on a conducted meta-analysis by Schmidt & Hunter (1998), where they looked through 85 years of research findings.