Posted on November 23, 2015

4 Strategies for Avoiding Bias in Interviewing

Interviewing is clearly one of the most important steps in the recruiting process, but it also creates situations where employers may be swayed by factors that aren’t relevant to the candidate’s fit for the job. For instance, the interviewee that is the most fun to talk with, happens to share the same hobbies as you, or appears to have the nicest wardrobe, may not be the best fit for your culture or the position. So how do you avoid falling into this trap? Here are four strategies for avoiding the influence of your biases.

1. Stick to a Structure

Start by asking every candidate the same interview questions. You may be tempted to cut the interview short if you feel sure you definitely will or will not hire a certain candidate, but try to give each interviewee a fair chance. Respect everyone enough to give them their allotted time, and you may be surprised.

2. Ask for Examples

During the interview, ask for examples of projects the interviewee has worked on that are similar to the responsibilities in the position, or that use similar skills and abilities. Ask how they’ve approached relevant situations and tasks in the past. Through the anecdotes a candidate shares, you can assess their abilities and experience from a different angle than what you see on their résumé.

3. Match the Job and Candidate

As opposed to determining whether you just "like" a candidate, which opens the doors for personal biases (unconscious or not), compare the interviewee to the job position. Do they measure up? Think about your company’s values and culture. Is that the kind of environment the candidate is looking for too?

4. Be Aware and Reassess

One of the most important parts of avoiding bias in interviews is to be aware. Be aware that you might have unconscious biases and start to recognize them. You may go into the interview with ideas about the candidate based on their résumé, references, and your intuition, but halfway through, take a step back and reassess. What were your assumptions? Do they seem unfounded now? Are your personal preferences affecting your ability to assess the candidate’s potential effectiveness in the position?

Overall, keep your company’s core values (and your standard questions!) at the forefront of your mind while interviewing, and remember that diversity in the workplace is good for the bottom line. For more information on how to streamline interviews, check out Paycor’s Recruiting and Hiring solutions. Already have the perfect candidate in mind? You might like our 90-day onboarding checklist.