Role and Impact of Unconscious Bias in Selection Process of Employees and Candidate Perception on the Process

Everyone dislikes being biasedly judge by someone else but at some point, we all are behaving biasedly for someone. This unconscious bias behaviour occurs in all professional and personal life and a decision on the basis of unconscious bias leads to unexpected results. The phenomenon of employee selection on the basis of unconscious bias affects both the candidate and the employer. Results for such selections are not always bad but the negligence of unconscious biases in recruitment and selection process itself is an unfair approach.Unconscious biases in the selection process of employees do not only effect the overall society as it leads to discrimination in terms of gender, social values and ethnicity but also have a negative impact on an organization’ ability to respond to the complex labour demand. Before going into an in-depth discussion on the consequences of unconscious bias based employee selection, first, we need to understand that which factors are leading us to the biased behaviour. These are the key ways in which an unconscious behaviour is developed and shown;

  • Perception: This is how we perceive or see reality and action of people without completely understanding the scenario.
  • Attitude: This is how we think on the basis of our perception to react towards the situation or action of people
  • Behaviour: This is actual reaction stage where we show our perception and attitude towards a situation or action of a person through our own action
  • Attention: This is how we pay attention to a scenario or person that depends on our perception that can be a stereotype or halo effect.
  • Listening: unbiased behaviour is also caused because of missing key points while you are hearing someone so this is how hearing and listening differs.

Human resource management does not just aim to recruit with an understanding of only whom we are going to hire but also needs to understand why we are hiring. So the mental shortcut through unconscious biases also occurs while the focus is on who is recruiting and how that leads to biased results of the selection process.

The two key factors that lead to unconscious biased behaviour of employer or recruiter in the selection process are the stereotype and halo effect. The stereotype is the judgement on the basis of common geographical or cultural preference of a candidate and halo effect is the judgement on the basis of recruiter’ own past experience. These two situations can lead to favouritism as perception about an institute or a firm that a graduate from that particular institute or a professional having experience of that firm would have the best skill set. This is the stereotype if it is based on common perception about the institute or firm but if it is based on recruiter’ personal experience then it is the halo effect.

This is the thing that is not always true and making a decision on the basis of such unconscious biases lead to biased results. A candidate from a local or low reputed institute can be more effective if you would have analysed his skills on the basis of merit and standards instead of bias or fake perceptions.