No matter how we strive to remain impartial, we all have inherent biases that influence our judgment. They can come in various forms: age, weight, dress, ethnicity, height, gender, preferred sports team…. In all seriousness, when hiring a candidate, anyone involved with the hiring process must take great care not to weed out a potentially great employee based on biases they may not even realize. Although by law, employers cannot discriminate based on certain specific factors, reports of bias still perpetuate today. While the most obviously troubling factor is the breaking of the law, it can also mean you miss out on a solid candidate.
- When putting together the criteria for an incoming candidate, it will help if you create and stick to certain specific parameters for hire, those that cover aspects of how well the person will do the job in terms of skills. Has the person done the job before? Does she have the experience and education necessary to fulfill the tasks required? How well a person will fit into a company’s culture may not end up on your list, yet it’s definitely something many employers consider. Unless this person comes off as someone who will cause irreparable rifts with colleagues down the line or whose beliefs would undermine your company’s guiding principles, don’t allow yourself to overlook a candidate who’s excellently qualified in all areas except that one.
- Statistics tell us that the average resume gets about seven seconds’ viewing from HR recruiters. If you follow this practice as well, looking only for keywords to narrow down the pile, you may miss out on someone who doesn’t put those words in but has the background or the potential to make a great employee. Remember: You’re hiring a person, not just what he puts on a resume. So slow down a little and look for the person who will really fit best.
- On that note, as you look at candidates, look for those with potential to improve and excel. Perhaps the person doesn’t have the exact set of skills you’re looking for but has ones that can transfer — and did extremely well at her last job. That’s the sort of person who can do the same with your company. Perhaps with a little training and mentoring, you will have hired a trustworthy, long-term employee who will help improve your business.
- Above all, keep your options and mind open by making sure you diversify your hires. Avoid biases such as those against the overqualified/older candidates, the currently and long-term unemployed, or those looking for flexible scheduling, for example. If the candidate shows promise and ask yourself if the person can and will do the job. If signs point to yes, give the person a fair chance.
In order to ensure your hiring practices remain unprejudiced, work with the experienced recruiting team at Creative Staffing. Our team will help you find the right person for your position and your company culture.