Cultivating Fairness: Understanding Hiring Biases

Jul 2, 2023

3 min read

One of the lessons I learned is that Bias surrounds us.

Culture, background, and experiences all of them influence our point of view and our decisions.

While we may believe that logical arguments primarily influence our decision-making, the reality is that our judgments and choices are often subject to the influence of unconscious processes occurring within our minds.

Biases are common in the hiring process too. Whether conscious or unconscious, these biases can color our perceptions of candidates. 

However, by fostering awareness and understanding, we can begin to challenge and mitigate the impact of biases in our decision-making processes.

In this article, we will explore the concept of unconscious bias in the recruiting process to proactively work toward improving the way we make our decision.

Common Bias in the hiring process

Throughout the different stages of the recruitment process, several biases can come into play. Let's explore them one by one:

Kick-Off Meeting

Bias can manifest even before the hiring process begins. The hiring manager's biases can influence their expectations and preferences for candidates, such as favoring specific universities, degrees, or tenure within a company.

This also occurs when the hiring manager requests to hire someone with the same profile as an existing colleague. 

Since this step, we should redirect our focus toward highlighting job requirements and essential role elements.

Job Description

Some Job titles and language may inadvertently appeal more to certain demographics or be associated with gender stereotypes and discourage some candidates from applying.

Let's break free from gender-coded language, age-related assumptions, and racial biases. Instead, let's emphasize the skills and qualifications that truly matter for the role.

Should we use ChatGPT to write a perfect Job description? 

Even ChatGPT and any other AI software have biases, use them as support but don’t rely only on them.

Inbound & Outbound Sourcing 

During candidate sourcing and screening, we may unconsciously favor candidates based on factors such as gender, nationality, or educational background, rather than evaluating them solely on their qualifications and experience.

While sourcing on LinkedIn, rely on something other than names and perfect profile pictures as it may lead to overlooking great candidates.

Some applicant tracking systems (ATS) offer blind CV screenings, allowing recruiters to focus on skills and qualifications rather than personal information (candidate’s name, college, address, hobbies, or graduation year…)


Interviews are particularly prone to biases due to personal judgments and first impressions.

Some of the most common biases are Ageism, Gender, Racial, and Religion

The unconscious bias can manifest in various ways, such as:

Halo Effect: Have an overall positive impression of a candidate based on one outstanding quality, overshadowing other relevant factors. Just because someone is good at one thing doesn't mean they're necessarily good at everything else. We may ignore more suitable candidates if we base our decision on this bias.

Affinity Bias: Preferring candidates with similar backgrounds, interests, and experiences leads to a need for more diversity within the workforce.

Confirmation Bias: It refers to the tendency to seek information that confirms our preexisting beliefs about candidates while ignoring contrary information. Confirmation bias can manifest itself in the way interviews are conducted, interpreting a candidate's answers, and recollecting the candidate's overall performance.

Structured interviews and scoring systems that we can apply to everyone could make a positive difference. Use a standardized set of questions and evaluation criteria. For example, asking all candidates the same questions and using a rating scale can ensure we evaluate candidates with the same criteria. In addition, review all available data and check with others your conclusions. 

Hiring Decision

We should base our evaluations on objective criteria rather than subjective comparisons when we make a final decision. Avoid comparing candidates with each other and instead focus on how well they align with the job requirements. Let their qualifications and abilities shine through, enabling us to make fair and informed decisions.


Unconscious biases can have far-reaching consequences in the recruiting process. It can lead to limited diversity within the organization and also to legal matters.

Embracing diversity and providing equal opportunities strengthens our teams and promotes innovation, creativity, and resilience.

We all have biases. So, we can start by having a better understanding and behave differently.

For further learning, here are two online courses "Unconscious Bias" by LinkedIn Learning and “Diversity and Inclusion in the Workplace" by Coursera.

Let's commit to ongoing improvement, challenge the status quo, and build a recruitment process that celebrates every individual's unique talents and contributions.

Happy recruiting! ✨

Your Friendly TA Ivana


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© 2023 Ivana Evola

Made with 💙 by Daniele

Let's connect!

© 2023 Ivana Evola

Made with 💙 by Daniele