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Reducing Recruitment Bias When Hiring Someone You Know

Reducing Recruitment Bias When Hiring Someone You Know
Reading Time: 5 minutes

What is the Recruitment Bias?

Recruitment bias is the tendency to favor or disfavor certain candidates unfairly based on subjective traits like personal relationships instead of objective job qualifications. When hiring someone you know, unconscious biases around familiarity, affinity, and assumptions can cloud impartial evaluation of skills and fit.

When you spot a resume from your college friend or a past coworker, it’s difficult not to get excited. Bringing on people you know seems like a no-brainer because you already know their true skill sets and work ethics. Most of all, you trust them!

But before you make promises about job offers, put the brakes on! Hiring should always be about finding the best fit – not simply helping out friends.

Fortunately, you can use hiring best practices that prevent unconscious recruitment bias. This helps you make fair decisions based on merit and tap into your network’s diversity, instead of past relationships.

How Familiarity Can Cause Unconscious Bias in Hiring

Cognitive biases can significantly impact the candidate selection process, as admitted by 48% of HR managers. These biases can happen when evaluating applications from close friends or previous colleagues, compromising the objectivity of the decision-making process.

Blurred Boundaries

Mixing personal and professional relationships can make it challenging to maintain clear boundaries. When friends become employees, it can be difficult to separate personal matters from work-related issues,which can lead to conflicts and tension.

Limited Feedback

Telling a friend you’ve hired that they’re not meeting expectations or behaving inappropriately can be uncomfortable. It’s challenging for employers or HR managers to remain unbiased when addressing problem behavior in someone they care about.

Unprofessional Behavior

When friends or family members are hired, they may feel a sense of entitlement or special treatment. Unfortunately, this behavior can lead to unprofessionalism and a lack of respect for authority. Ultimately, this can have a negative impact on team dynamics and discipline in the workplace.

What are Other Examples of Unconscious Bias in Recruitment?

Here are some other examples of recruitment bias that can unconsciously creep into the recruitment process.

The bottom line? We all have unconscious biases. Recognizing them is the first step to smarter, fairer hiring that focuses solely on a candidate’s future potential value to the company.

How to Reduce Bias in the Hiring Process?  Best Practices to Reduce Recruitment BiasCan You Reduce Recruitment Bias When You Hire a Friend

Maintaining impartiality during the hiring process can be challenging when candidates have personal connections to the hiring team.

To address this, it’s important to establish hiring best practices that evaluate all applicants consistently and minimize the influence of biases.

Here are some effective strategies to reduce recruitment bias when hiring someone you know:

1.  Implement Blind Resume Reviews

Remove personally identifiable details from resumes, such as names, addresses, and gender, to prevent assumptions based on affinity or personal connections. This allows for a more objective assessment of the candidate’s qualifications and skills.

2. Incorporate Skills Testing

Use pre-employment tests to evaluate the candidate’s skills required for success in the job. These assessments serve as objective measures of a candidate’s talents and abilities, helping to identify the most suitable candidate based on merit rather than relying on personal relationships.

3. Conduct Panel Interviews

When interviewing someone you know, have someone else in the room or let someone else conduct the interview. Afterward, use clear scoring criteria that are benchmarked across all applicants to reduce individual biases and ensure an objective evaluation. This way, you can avoid personal biases and others won’t question your decision if you end up hiring your friend.

4. Focus on Merit-Centric Data Points

When hiring, focus on job-related factors like skills, experience, and cultural fit instead of personal connections. This will limit the impact of the personal relationship with anyone involved in the hiring process.

5. Be Mindful of Unconscious Bias

Recognize unconscious biases that may influence your decisions. Educate yourself about common biases and actively work to counteract them. Remain open to considering candidates from diverse backgrounds and experiences, even if they don’t fit the traditional mold.

6. Document the Hiring Process

Maintain detailed records of the selection process, including the criteria used for evaluation and the reasons behind hiring decisions. This documentation helps to ensure transparency and accountability and can be valuable in addressing any future claims of bias or discrimination.

If you want to hire the best candidates, focus on fairness and objectivity during the recruitment process. This will help you reduce bias and promote diversity, leading to better quality hires and overall success for your company.

Using Pre-Employment Tests to Avoid Bias When Hiring Someone You Know

Pre-employment testing is a valuable tool that you can use to reduce recruitment bias and ensure a fair and objective hiring process.

Hiring someone you know can be a double-edged sword. By implementing hiring best practices and using best-in-class pre-employment tests, you can assess candidates’ abilities objectively. This way, you can minimize personal biases and make fair hiring decisions.

Try a free sample test today!