How do I check my bias during interviews?

3rd August 2021

Interview bias is an unconscious and conscious judgement an interviewer can make on first impressions. It clouds the evaluation of a candidate, whether that be negative or positive, and will often lead to bad hiring decisions.

Interview bias can range from appearances, body language, communication and social background, making the interview less objective based on aspects that are not related to their skills or what they can contribute to the company and role you’re looking to fill.

Having bias in and around the workplace can cause opportunities to go unnoticed, create unequal possibilities for candidates and also creates a workplace that is far from diverse. Having a diverse team is one of the biggest assets a company can have and has been proven to have a positive impact on a company’s complete performance.

This is something that needs great care and planning as it is easy to let biases influence your recruitment process.

As a recruitment agency that has interviewed thousands of people at Citrus Connect, we recommend the following steps to ensure that you are avoiding Bias in your recruitment efforts. We have come up with this list you can follow to minimise bias in your interview processes.

1. Conduct a phone screen first

Conducting a short phone screen naturally eliminates bias, it allows you to purely focus on skills, abilities, and what this person could possibly bring to the role you are looking to fill. By creating this first contact with the candidates it makes the first impression at the in-person interview less impactful.

2. Use an interview guideline and standardise your questions

Creating a guideline for the interview with a clear set of questions you wish to ask helps you stay on track, avoids possibilities for small talk, creates a fair opportunity for all candidates and you can often come back to it to ensure you are not missing important information. It also creates a perfect opportunity to write down notes as you go, again limiting unwanted bias.

3. Focus on the job description

You are hiring the person for a specific role. It’s important to focus on the skills this person has and if they are the skills needed for the role for which they are applying. This allows you to hire purely on the bias of knowledge and skill over any characteristics or appearances.

4. Use a panel interview

Using a panel interview means bringing in one or two more people from the company to interview the candidates with you, this allows each member of the team to ask questions, take notes and ultimately be included in the hiring decision.

5. Don’t make rash decisions

Take your time, and talk with others in the company and those that interviewed with you before you decide to write off candidates. Check notes multiple times and keep referring back to the position you are looking to fill and what skills are required to find that perfect fit.

There are many different types of bias, so being self-aware during the recruitment process is a valued attribute to cling to, question yourself on the decisions you want to make, and check that you are not falling into any of the decision-making bias categories. Following a structured approach to interviewing whilst keeping a heightened sense of self-awareness can make all the difference in keeping your bias in check.

Following these steps and taking notes throughout the whole process with each candidate will open doors to potentially hiring the most amazing and qualified individual to fill that role.

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