Sourcing and hiring the best available talents is a key priority for many senior executives. Yet about 50% of recruitments fail.
Such failures are often due to unconscious biases.Unconscious biases reduce our abilities to objectively assess candidates. Each time we review a resume or meet a new candidate, in just a few milliseconds, we will associate him or her with attributes which might not correspond to the specific individual in front of us. These attributes are derived from our culture, past and immediate experiences. Outside of our own control, they will shape our judgement. In some instances, we will believe candidates have competencies they do not have and visa versa. For example, most people tend to believe women are creative. This will therefore increase our probability to hire women for marketing positions even if the female candidate we meet is not so creative. In contrast, many people will tend to believe men are not creative and mostly practical. This will therefore reduce the odd of hiring a man for a marketing position even when a male candidate is very creative.
No matter how decisive and responsible we are, our unconscious System 1 will operate and shape our assessments.
Improving the objectiveness of recruitment decisions therefore requires simultaneously addressing recruiters’ individual biases on the one hand and, on the other hand, designing a recruitment process effective to reduce the impact of cognitive biases.
Effectively addressing unconscious bias in attitudes and processes has a very significant impact: new hires are more representative of the available talent pool and, importantly, retention 6 months after recruitment is significantly higher. In most cases, the overall process is more effective with lower sourcing budget and less time spent in managing the process.