When it comes to recruitment, hiring managers in the Philippines usually select the best candidates. Prior to hiring them, candidates are usually assessed and screened first by objective evaluations. The work experience, education and how candidates fit the jobs are usually the parameters in hiring. However, we, humans, are incapable of being objective without bias. Due to our various experiences and exposure to different influences in the society, we sometimes form our own subjective perceptions. Obviously, these subjective thoughts affect our judgments and decisions when it comes to hiring and recruitment decisions.

In the early recruitment stages, recruiters and hiring managers sometimes form unconscious bias about candidates based on first impressions. They would sometimes (either consciously or unconsciously) prefer another candidate over a more qualified one because of a certain kind of bias. Here are five hiring biases you could unconsciously be making that hurt your recruitment chances.

1. Confirmation Bias

When candidates apply, you make your initial impressions. Confirmation bias happens when you subconsciously look for evidence that will confirm your initial impressions. This means you only take in information that justify your beliefs and disregard the ones that don’t. For example, you noticed from a candidate’s perfect resume that he is tech-savvy. This immediately led you to think that he’s intelligent and clever. Then, you then ask and look for details that favor your initial assumption. Unconsciously, we ignore or don’t even notice the negative things about the candidate. Because of this, you forego the best qualified candidates and select the one who’s incompetent but is proficient in technology. We do this because we want to be right with our instincts but this could lead you to hire the wrong person.

2. Affinity Bias or Similarity Bias

Affinity and similarity are biases that occur when you are more likely to hire candidates you share similarities with. You tend to favor candidates who are like you or share a similar trait with you. These commonalities may be attending the same college or having the same name. Even when the similarities aren’t related to job performance, you ride along with them because you view them as yourself. As a result, you may be more inclined to hire them over someone you don’t have things in common with even though they’re much more fit for the job.

3. Halo effect

The halo effect occurs when you see one positive aspect in a candidate and let it affect how you judge his overall character. It happens when you focus too much on one positive characteristic and you immediately think that he’s a perfect fit. For example, you notice that a candidate can speak straight english flawlessly which is something uncommon in the Philippines. Because you find this impressive, you immediately think that he’s ideal for the job. You assume that he’s smart, competent and knowledgeable in all other aspects. This may cause you to overlook more qualified candidates due to that one positive trait.

4. Horn effect

The horn effect is the opposite of the halo effect. In this kind of bias, you may notice something negative about a person and let it cloud your judgment entirely. It may be their wrong grammar, which is quite common in the Philippines. Once you notice their wrong grammar, you immediately assume he’s terrible at other aspects. You immediately think that he’s incompetent for the job without actually discovering his expertise. This might cause you to forego qualified candidates without actually exploring their skills.

5. Contrast effect

This kind of bias happens when you have multiple interviews in a row. Due to consecutive applications, you tend compare a candidate to a previous one and let it impact how you perceive him/her. You judge a prospect based on whether he did as good as the previous ones instead of assessing his own qualifications. This is not a good recruiting practice and may produce inaccurate results.

Candidates who apply should be evaluated objectively. Be cautious of these hiring biases as these could be detrimental to an organization’s recruitment process. It can hinder recruiters from selecting the best qualified candidates and cost them great hires.

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By: X. Borja
Worky Online Contributor

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