There’s no denying that interviewers bring with them a set of expectations, judgments and emotions when interviewing candidates. It’s only natural to do that. Sadly, most of us aren’t honest with ourselves to admit, or even recognize, that we have interviewer bias.

We search for a set of particular aspects in candidates that we value and hold close. It could be shared interests, a career history that’s similar to ours. We even fall for the trap of the halo effect by favoring candidates whose qualifications and educational institutions matches ours. Some of us even look for candidates who are clones of us!

And we’re doing all this without even realizing that we’re engaging in interviewer bias. And these are the biases which we need to avoid.

Reducing Interviewer Bias

Much has been written about reducing interviewer bias. There are several ways to strengthen the recruitment process. Some of these may already be a part of your recruitment process without you realizing that it’s helping you take away interviewer bias.

  • Pre-assessment tests – assesses candidates based on their technical, analytical and logical skills.
  • Standardized Questions – ensures the same extensive and detailed information is obtained from every candidate.
  • Multiple Interviews – provides well-rounded insight about candidates from the perspective of HR, the hiring manager, cross-functional teams, the senior leadership and maybe even a future co-worker.
  • Telephone Screening – takes away the bias raised from physical meetings and helps interviewer focus on the personality and track record of candidates.

Most importantly, to reduce interviewer bias you the interviewer must alter your personal perception. Here are a few suggestions:

  • Take Good Notes – you won’t be able to remember details of several candidates so taking good notes will help you review candidates carefully.
  • Be Analytical – scoring candidates on their achievements is a good way to remain focused on what they’ve achieved so far and avoid giving too much weight to your personal views about them.

Are There Biases You Should Have?

Yes, there is! There are biases you should have when hiring. After all, what’s the purpose of the recruitment process if it isn’t to search for talent.

And that’s the first bias you as an interviewer should have. You need to search for resources who are extraordinary, who live for challenges, who have a spark! When evaluating candidates you should be able to answer this question about them:

“Will they become future leaders?”

If you can successfully assess this about the candidate, you’ve used your interviewer bias to create a filter that only allows the best to enter your organization.

Another important question to ask is:

“Is this candidate addressing the hiring needs of today?”

If yes, then surely this isn’t the person for you. This trap is set by most hiring managers who are anxiously looking to fill resource gaps. In their desperation, they often hire resources who can take on today’s challenges, but fall short of skills and creativity for the future. And that’s exactly what you should be avoiding – hiring for today.

And while most people talk about taking away gut feeling and intuition when interviewing, I’m suggesting you bring it back. However, with a clear recognized bias of searching for top talent.

Your organization is filled with 20% of its resource that you may consider as “top talent” (generously speaking). Will the next candidate you hire be just filling in the numbers? Or are you going to correct your interviewer bias and select a resource that’s going to be a part of the top talent?