Insights from Pam: Understanding Bias in Talent Acquisition

What does it mean to be under the influence of bias? 

Bias is typically an unidentifiable, but distinct attraction towards a person or an aversion away from them. “I like them, or I don’t like them.” In some cases when someone resonates with the interviewer, (being just like me or the rest of our team members), instant attraction is formulated. 

How does bias influence decisions in hiring? 

Biases cause shorts in the thoroughness of the interview process thus leaving the potential of not uncovering problematic areas that the candidate may process. On the other hand, bias can get in the way of identifying good candidates because of how it affects our liking mechanisms. For example, how people show up differently, whether its age, skin color, hair color, language accent, or how they dress, could be something the interviewers do not like, thus unintentionally raising the bar for them and in some cases does not move them through the selection process for relatively superficial reasons. 

What can you do to eliminate biases in your company recruiters? 

Train your recruiters on their unconscious biases. Based on the DMBA ILI there has been more than a 50% increase in bias training from 2016 (36 percent) to 2020 (80 percent). It is important to understand that recruiters require additional training as well as a separate training platform on the bias, just as they have for specialized training like disability ADA legislation. 

For a deeper dive, visit to get your copy of the SkiNy on Diversity Recruiting (Chapter 4)

Picture of Pamela McElvane
Pamela McElvane
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