Seven types of interview bias and how to avoid them

During the hiring process, interviewers need to be fair, objective, and unbiased if they want to secure the best person for the job. But the only way to do this is to understand the different types of biases that exist and introduce measures that actively remove them. Here are seven different types of interview biases and techniques you can use to avoid them.

4 mins read
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6 months ago

​We might want to think that our choices are logical and that we have complete control over them – but the reality is that we are always affected by cognitive biases.

What are biases?

The brain cannot properly assess every new piece of information it encounters, so it’s designed to make quick decisions about people, situations, and objects. While these mental shortcuts are a necessary survival skill, making fast decisions without careful evaluation can be a bad thing and lead to opinions that are unfairly biased.

Types of interview biases

When it comes to doing interviews, you can do your best to be objective, but biases can creep in. That’s why it’s so crucial to be aware of the different types so you can identify and actively avoid them. Here are seven different types of common interview biases:

Stereotyping

A stereotype is a simplified opinion about a specific group of people, based on a fixed set of characteristics that we think are typical of that group.

It is a serious problem in interviews, as the interviewer can make a judgment about a candidate that is not based on their skills or ability but on an initial stereotype.

Gender and racial bias

Gender or racial bias is when the interviewer has a belief about a certain gender or race, thinking that the job is not appropriate for someone of that gender or race.

Interviewers should never let gender or racial bias affect their hiring decisions, not only from an ethical standpoint, but they may also face legal consequences for discrimination.

Confirmation bias

Confirmation bias is where the interviewer may ask questions or make suggestive statements that prompt the interviewee to confirm what they believe they already know about them, based on their CV or application.

It also relates to how people pay more attention to information that supports their existing beliefs, prefer to interact with people who have similar views, and are unwilling to listen to different opinions.

It’s important to be aware of this bias - if people are being hired because they have the same views as their line managers, it can hinder growth and innovation across the business.

Recency bias

Recency bias is when an interviewer tends to remember and favor applicants who were interviewed more recently.

You may have interviewed many candidates in any given day and each one can seem to blend with the next. This is when you may fall victim to recency bias and subconsciously favor candidates toward the end of the interview process. The problem is that the best person for the job could be someone you interviewed right at the beginning of the day or halfway through.

Similarity bias

Also known as affinity bias, similarity bias is when an interviewer makes hiring decisions based on similar physical attributes or shared interests that are either discussed during the interview, or shown on a candidate’s CV.

For example, an interviewer may ask the potential employee if they had a good weekend, and the interviewee could reply with something like: “I did thank you, I went for a hike with my dog”. If the interviewer is also a fan of hiking and dog-owning, then whether intentional or not, the interviewer will view the candidate more positively, even before any skills or work-related information has been obtained.

Halo bias

The halo bias is when one positive characteristic dominates all others. For example, if the person interviewing sees that the applicant went to a prestigious university on their CV or had previously worked for a very well-known brand that they admire, they may focus on that and ignore negative traits.

Horn bias

Contrary to the halo bias, the horn bias is when a negative characteristic dominates all the positive skills and abilities. For example, a candidate may have made a spelling mistake on their CV and the interviewer can’t forget about it, giving too much weight to the error and ignoring the many positive qualities they have.

How to avoid bias when interviewing

Keep interviews uniform

Ask every candidate the same questions – ensuring they are relevant to the skills and abilities of the interviewee - and document their answers correctly. Taking notes as you go will prevent opinions and biases from sneaking in.

Provide training to interviewers

All interviewers should receive training in diversity and inclusion and learn how to identify and avoid their own unconscious biases. This will provide a more equitable system for all potential employees and help hiring managers discover their own hidden biases.

Have a diverse group of interviewers

If there are multiple interview stages or you are using a group of interviewers, make sure the group is diverse to allow for a more balanced decision to be made. Each interviewer will have different biases, so together the bias is lowered.

Limit personal chats

Some small talk is necessary when greeting an interviewee but keep it brief. Engaging in personal chats can lead to similarity bias.

Use a standard scoring system

Create a standard scoring system and apply this to all interviews. Referring to this later will ensure each candidate is assessed fairly and on an equal basis.

Record and re-play remote interviews

If you are doing remote interviews, record them (with the candidate’s consent) and re-play them in a different order to avoid recency bias.

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Workplace monitoring: guidance for your organisation
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Workplace monitoring: guidance for your organisation

​In the past, workplace monitoring was relatively simplistic: employers relied on visual supervision and basic timekeeping systems, and the concept of privacy was limited.

Fast forward to the digital age. Employee monitoring has reached new levels of sophistication and become common practice for employers seeking to boost productivity, enhance security, and ensure compliance with regulations.

Improved productivity and deeper insights

With the advancement of technology, including GPS tracking, computer monitoring software, and biometric identification systems, surveillance can provide employers with detailed insights into employee activities and performance.

One of the key benefits of employee monitoring is the ability to track and improve productivity levels. By monitoring employees' activities, employers can identify inefficiencies, analyse workflow processes, and provide targeted feedback to enhance performance. This data-driven approach allows companies to optimise their operations, allocate resources effectively, and ultimately improve their bottom line.

Monitoring can also help employers identify and address issues such as time theft, excessive breaks, and unauthorised activities in the workplace. With real-time monitoring tools, employers can detect irregularities and take corrective actions promptly, therefore improving accountability and integrity among employees.

Employee monitoring can also aid in compliance with regulations and industry standards. By keeping a close eye on electronic communications, websites visited, and files accessed, employers can ensure that employees adhere to data protection laws, maintain confidentiality, and comply with company policies. This proactive approach minimises the risk of data breaches and security incidents and also protects the company from potential legal liabilities.

Balancing surveillance and ethics

Despite the clear advantages of employee monitoring, it is crucial for organisations to approach this practice with sensitivity and respect for staff privacy. As a matter of course, employers should establish clear policies regarding monitoring practices, communicate openly with employees about the purpose and scope of monitoring, and ensure transparency in the use of monitoring tools.

Prioritise the protection of sensitive employee data by implementing robust security measures, restricting access to monitoring data, and complying with data protection regulations such as GDPR. These considerations can ease employees’ minds about any surveillance and even instil appreciation for such measures. After all, workplace security is in everyone’s best interests.

Download our best practice guide to employee monitoring

Our eBook, ‘Employee monitoring: a guide to best practices’ provides insight into how employers might best integrate employee monitoring into their organisation, and considerations for what the impact may be on employees. With opinion from thought leaders, it addresses everything from pre-employment checks to the tracking tech that might be right your organisation.

Looking to hire top talent for your organisation or to find your next dream role? Get in touch with one of our specialist consultants today.

Employee monitoring: a guide to best practices
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Employee monitoring: a guide to best practices

​Employee monitoring can help ensure productivity and accountability among employees, as managers can track their work progress and identify areas where improvement is needed. Monitoring enhances data security by detecting and preventing unauthorised access or data breaches and additionally, it enables you to adhere to regulatory and compliance requirements, reducing legal risks. 

The key thing to remember is that workplace surveillance is perfectly acceptable, as long as you can legally justify your reasons, and it is always better to be ‘overt’, not ‘covert’.  

A report shows that despite normality returning to working life post-pandemic, demand for employee surveillance software is 49% above 2019 levels. 

Our eBook, ‘Employee monitoring: a guide to best practices’, provides insight from top experts in the field including:    

Keith Rosser, Director of Group Risk and Reed Screening, Reed 

Hayfa Mohdzaini, Senior Research Adviser, CIPD

 By downloading this eBook, you will discover:   

  • What employee monitoring is 

  • Whether it's needed for your business

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“Monitoring software that employees see as intrusive and unnecessary is more likely to erode mutual trust in the employment relationship. Employers need to show how using monitoring software can benefit employees, while respecting their privacy.” -Hayfa Mohdzaini, Senior Research Adviser, CIPD.

How to become a marketing executive
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How to become a marketing executive

​Are you wondering how to become a marketing executive? This article provides you with all the information you need to start your career journey.

What is a marketing executive?

A marketing executive is a key member of a marketing team and is often responsible for developing and implementing marketing campaigns to promote the company's products or services. They work closely with other teams, such as sales, product development, and advertising, to ensure cohesive messaging and strategic alignment. Marketing executives analyze market trends, conduct market research, and utilize various channels, including digital platforms, traditional media, and events, to reach target audiences and achieve marketing objectives.

A marketing executive career is best suited to those with a creative mindset, strong communication skills, and a passion for strategic planning. Adaptability, analytical thinking, and the ability to thrive in a fast-paced environment are also crucial attributes for success in this role.

Types of marketing executive

Marketing executives can specialize in various areas, including:

Digital marketing executive

Focuses on online channels such as paid social media, email marketing, search engine optimization (SEO), and pay-per-click (PPC) advertising.

Brand marketing executive

Concentrates on building and managing the brand’s identity, including brand messaging, visual assets, and brand consistency across all touchpoints.

Content marketing executive

Creates and distributes valuable, relevant content to attract and engage target audiences, often through blog posts, articles, videos, and infographics.

Product marketing executive

Works closely with product development teams to understand product features, benefits, and target markets, and develops marketing strategies to drive product adoption and sales.

What do you need to become a marketing executive

Here are the marketing executive qualifications that you will need to obtain for the role:

Academic qualifications

While a degree in marketing, business, or a related field is beneficial, practical experience and demonstrable skills are often equally important, so a degree is not always necessary.

Professional qualifications

Many employers look for candidates with internship experience, relevant certifications (such as Google Analytics or HubSpot), and a strong understanding of marketing principles and techniques.

Skills and experience

Key skills for marketing executives include creativity, strategic thinking, attention to detail, and proficiency in digital marketing tools and platforms.

Marketing executive role and responsibilities

What does a marketing executive do? Well, the role varies depending on the organization and industry, but marketing executive responsibilities typically include:

  • Developing and executing marketing strategies to meet business objectives

  • Conducting market research to identify target audiences, market trends, and competitors

  • Creating compelling content and promotional materials across various channels

  • Managing social media accounts and engaging with followers

  • Analyzing campaign performance and optimizing strategies based on data insights

  • Collaborating with cross-functional teams, such as sales, to ensure alignment and integration of marketing efforts

Marketing executives typically work standard office hours, although overtime may be required during busy periods or when deadlines are approaching. Salaries for marketing executives in the US vary depending on factors such as location, experience, and industry sector.

Entry-level positions may start at around $30,000 per year, while experienced and senior marketing executives can earn around $60,000 per year.

Marketing executive career prospects

As businesses continue to prioritize digital marketing and data-driven decision-making, the demand for skilled marketing executives is expected to remain high. Experienced professionals may advance to senior management positions, from senior marketing executive, content marketing manager, head of digital marketing, up to marketing director. Continuing education, staying updated on industry trends, and networking within the marketing community can enhance career prospects and open new opportunities.

In conclusion, becoming a marketing executive requires a combination of education, practical experience, and essential skills. With the right qualifications and dedication, aspiring marketers can embark on a rewarding career path with ample opportunities for growth and advancement.

If you are looking for a marketing or business support professional, or seeking a new role yourself, get in touch with one of our specialist consultants today.