There are amazingly talented people everywhere that you look, and thanks to the internet and social media, these people are getting easier and easier to find. So why is it that so many companies face high turnover rates? Why is it so difficult to find a person that will be a good fit with your job opening and your company? A big part of the answer is implicit bias.
Implicit biases are the biases that we all have (regardless of our race, gender, or any other identity marker) that cause us to judge people we see within a split second of meeting them. And when I say “split second,” I mean it. It takes less than a second for a person to form a first impression of someone new. It’s our brain’s way of trying to protect us from danger, but it’s far from a foolproof system. When we subconsciously make split second judgements – and it’s important to note that these judgements are subconscious – we rely on stereotypes and images ingrained in our minds by film and television, our upbringing, and the media.
In hiring, as in most other cases, implicit bias is a terrible problem because it leads to some really strong candidates being overlooked while others advance based on nothing more than gut feelings. Sure, hiring managers are accustomed to making their decisions based on fancy resumes and “good” interviews, but the high turnover rates speak for themselves. This quote from Stanley Randall says it so succinctly, “The closest a person ever comes to perfection is when he/she (completes a resume) or fills out an application.”
One of the most effective ways to remove the influence of implicit bias is with effective hiring assessments. Our pre-hire assessments provide hiring managers get a true picture of the talents, weaknesses, and personality of the person they are interviewing. Starting from this baseline makes it much easier to identify candidates with the greatest potential in your culture.
A great follow-up step to assessments for hiring is conducting structured interviews targeted to the requirements of the job. Rather than having free-wheeling discussions that favor applicants who have the most in common with the hiring manager, a custom set of structure interview questions allows all candidates to be evaluated using questions based on their unique strengths and potential vulnerabilities as compared to the requirements of the job.
Using our tools has another benefit – promoting diversity. When physical appearance, clothing, tone of voice, gender, and race are purposefully set aside, candidates are seen more clearly for their talents, and the result is a more diverse workforce.