Melissa  Kilday
over 4 years ago by Melissa Kilday

Is unconcious bias costing you talent?

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Interviewing potential employees can sometimes feel challenging and other times it can feel very natural because you and the interviewee have so much in common, that’s great right? A recent article in HR Review stated that over a third of organisations are not training managers to avoid a common interview pitfall; unconscious bias.

So what is unconscious bias?
Unconscious biases are social stereotypes of people that individuals form outside their own conscious awareness. Everyone holds unconscious beliefs about various social and identity groups, and these biases stem from individuals tendencies to organise social worlds by categorising.

What are the issues?
The challenge here is how do you identify that this is happening and what steps can you put in to place to ensure that your line managers are opening their minds to the entire talent pool available to them? With the talent pool decreasing on a daily basis, (due to unemployment figures decreasing and number of opportunities increasing)  this is becoming more and more important.

A few things that you may want to consider when you are looking to hire include:
- A diverse workforce are more productive that a non-diverse team. A cognitive study completed by MIT engineers found that diverse work forces are 35% more productive.
- By encouraging a diverse workforce, staff will produce a wider range of ideas to solve problems
- Having a diverse workforce may include many different language skills - this could help communication with customers and suppliers
- Job seekers find a company with a diverse workforce more attractive. When employees feel encouraged to be their whole, genuine selves at work, it helps productivity, creativity and fosters a company culture many quality candidates find attractive.

What strategies can you implement to ensure that you are employing a diverse workforce?
- Encourage open minds within your management team.
- Always highlight the key benefits of having a diverse workforce and how that can aid revenue and also a more cultural and attractive organisation to work with or for.
- Follow up interview notes with hiring managers to see if you can highlight any unconscious biases of other people involved in the hiring process.

The job market as we know it is going through so tremendous changes including the push to close the gender pay gap, paternity and maternity policies, gross misconduct and other key issues. Unconscious bias is also an issue we need to try and combat together as it holds us back when giving potential employees a fair, UNBIAS chance when looking for their next career move.