Unconscious Bias

What is unconscious bias?

Unconscious bias, aka implicit bias, is a person's attitude or views about others that occur without the person's knowledge. These biases are based on common knowledge or previous experiences that may influence how you think about things now.


What is an example of an unconscious bias?

A scenario where the recruiting panel prefers male candidates over female candidates while having comparable qualifications and work experience is an example of hiring bias. Another well-known example of bias in the workplace is the gender wage gap.


What are the 5 unconscious biases?

Typically, we are unaware of our unconscious biases, which can affect who is selected for an interview, how interviews are performed, who is hired, and why they are employed.


These five biases are the most common in the workplace:

  1. Affinity bias

Affinity bias causes us to favor individuals we sense a connection or similarity. For instance, attending the same university, growing up in the same city, or resembling ourselves or a person we adore. This can have a substantial effect on recruitment.


  1. Halo impact

The Halo Effect occurs when we perceive one positive trait about a person and let that trait's halo-like light influence our perceptions of everything else about that individual.

For instance, if we observe that a person attended a prominent college or earned a distinguished award, we allow this accomplishment to impact how we perceive everything else about that person.


  1. Horns' effect

The Horns Effect is the exact opposite of the Halo effect and occurs when an individual's perception is disproportionately affected by a single unfavorable attribute.

For example, if we dislike the way someone clothes, we may conclude they are likewise unprofessional and lazy, even though professionalism and competency are unrelated to attire.


  1. Attribution bias

Attribution bias influences how we evaluate the accomplishments of others. It can be incredibly influential during recruitment.

When evaluating ourselves, we tend to believe that our accomplishments directly affect our merit and personality; when assessing others, we frequently believe the opposite to be true. We are more likely to attribute the accomplishments of others to luck or chance and their failures to their character or actions.


  1. Confirmation bias

Confirmation bias tends to seek for, analyze, focus on, and recall information that confirms our existing beliefs. Recruiters must use extreme caution regarding this bias.

Being conscious of these varied biases might help you combat their influence and make more judicious recruiting and promotion decisions.



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