Bias When Hiring Mommies, Musicians, and Light Skinned Blacks
Everyone has bias. It’s dangerous to think otherwise.
When you meet job candidates, you form first impressions that include stereotypes and biases. (Not all stereotypes are bad.)
In order to recruit and retain the best talent leaders must confront unconscious bias.
Try a few Implicit Association Tests on Project Implicit Harvard.edu to reveal unconscious bias.
In order to overcome bias, you must first identify it. I took the Gender-Career IAT on Harvard.Edu. The result indicates that I associate men with career and women with family. People in my category tend to give more opportunity to men, unless we confront our bias.
“In the 1970s and 1980s, orchestras began using blind auditions. Candidates are situated on a stage behind a screen to play for a jury that cannot see them…
Even when the screen is only used for the preliminary round, it has a powerful impact; researchers have determined that this step alone makes it 50% more likely that a woman will advance to the finals.” (The Guardian)
Skin color bias:
Light skinned Blacks are judged more intelligent than dark skinned Blacks. This is true even when darker skinned persons have more education. (University of Georgia)
We have a tendency to believe mothers are less committed to work. Mommy bias accounts for a large portion of pay disparity between genders. (NY Times)
7 ways to deal with bias:
- Take an IAT test.
- Discuss bias in team meetings.
- Evaluate hiring decisions with bias in mind.
- Monitor the way you assign tasks and give credit.
- Define evaluative terms. For example, you might say a person is aggressive. If the person is female, “aggressive” is more likely to be negative.
- Expand your experiences. Visit a country where you don’t speak the language.
- Attend Unconscious Bias Training.
How might leaders identify and navigate unconscious bias in the hiring process?
Bias develops from the time we associate with others from start to finish, can be classified as “quilt by association”, how we are educated,ethical associations, religious beliefs, and influences by others. The greatest impact are those who surround us, we have to learn to be “acceptable and respectful” of all individuals, when your raised to judge others by various classifications you develop Bias. Learn to at others as equals regardless of what you see Bias’s described above, unfortunately they exist, we have to rebuild these that all individuals matter in the workplace.
Strangely, the HR and customer-facing parts of a large organisation I worked for were found to have greater levels of unconscious bias than than the technical bits. This was despite the fact that there was evidence that the technical areas had lower levels of empathy and emotional intelligence. Apparently the techies just saw a person’s abilities and totally ignored everything else about them!
I hear you, when I was 40 and looking for work, after 19 years with a company, I did make the interview stage for a particular job, the response I received was ” your more than we are looking for”! I felt in that instance they were afraid of me taking their job. I needed a job and that was the farthest think from my mind was taking someone’s job. Perhaps the Bias was “Knowledge Bias”,The good news 3 days later I was hired and 21 years later still with the same company. “For every door that closes another shall open”!
I have recently found that age BIAS is another issue. I have recently tried looking at opportunities for which I am certainly qualified and in some cases have not even been offered an interview. I have been licensed and practicing my profession for 45 ears. I am certainly not 30 years old.I think my age is a focus rather than my experience and capabilities.
Excellent. Taking an IAT.
You better be on your toes and ACT the stereotype that they want or their bias’ will eliminate you immediately. Gaps in your resume and age make you more susceptible to bias.
When you’re biased you see the world in a certain way. This leads you to creating things and doing things that have a “multiplied” bias. If you want to understand your biases, you just need to ask yourself three questions.
1. Why do I like, dislike, or feel no one way or another this person?
2. What do I really understand about this person?
3. What about me is similar to and different from this person?
Answer these three questions with hard answers and you’ll have a good idea what your biases are.
I have to say I am rather offended by this post. I thought this blog was above the ridiculous ramblings of google and social engineering. If hiring managers and leaders were biased they would be sued – I LOVE your posts, but after this am seriously considering cancelling my membership – Give the leaders a bit more credit.
Thanks Sandra. No offense intended. I’m committed to the idea that we should hire based on competence. If we have biases that get in the way of hiring for competence, we should confront those biases.
I’m glad you joined in today.
Only if you can prove bias, which is hard to do.
Thanks for circling back.
I bit late to this one. I love ALL Dan blogs. The promotion of thinking is invaluable. Don’t be offended by the notion that there is bias. Dan’s 7 ways above are ways to help insure a leader protects their people and themselves. Nothing offensive in that.
Great opening statement to your blog although, I suspect, irrespective of what is written or spoken, there will be some who will obstinately deny that there still is, they are bias, there are biases, even in this era.
I will openly admit, I am not a fan of “IAT” or similar tests, sometimes think, “what the point?”, could you not manipulate the answer’s, as in answer so the results reflect the results you want, how you see yourself, how you need to be seen to get a desired result (the job so to speak)?
When hiring, still prefer the, what I would class as, more straightforward method of (1) submitting CV (2) interview, get to know the person, their knowledge and experience, (3) make a decision from there. (This comment is made from someone that does not hire, more from a person that wants to be hired). Like the principle of ‘blind auditions’, maybe CV’s or even, other possible situations where bias could have the opportunity to occur, should be made as “blind” as possible, possibly highlighting, identifying what is ACTUALLY or SHOULD BE critical to a role, fulfilling a role, knowledge, skills, experience, qualifications.
I like your recommendation to “define evaluative terms”. In my experience, this can be less about one word being used differently, more about two different words being used to describe the same behaviour. For example, as a women, I might be coming across as “arrogant”, whereas a man is “confident”. The “assertive” / “aggressive” divide is even more of a dilemma. The difference between the two often lies with the unconscious biases of the observer!
Not because you are not being stereotyped or are not noticing bias in your organization that it biased hiring doesn’t exist. I appreciate this article for speaking for the biased. I also read the very controversial comments. Speaking from experience, people get more offended when you explain that their system is cracked and don’t look to fix the actual cracks in the system.