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September 21, 2020

5 strategies for overcoming biases to make smart hiring decisions

Hiring decisions are among the most complex and critical decisions that leaders make. The most effective hiring managers can overcome their personal biases to make data-driven decisions that lead to impactful hires. Biases are part of human nature – awareness is important, but it takes a strategy to outsmart them fully.


5 strategies for overcoming biases to make smart hiring decisions:

1) Acknowledge and avoid personal biases 

Personal biases are common, subconscious, or unconscious beliefs about particular characteristics or entire groups of people. They can stem from positive impressions, like the halo effect, or preliminary information, like anchoring bias. Start by educating yourself on the many forms of personal biases to increase your awareness. When making hiring decisions, focus on your scorecard for the position, then collect facts and refer to tangible, job-related reasons for hiring or rejecting a candidate.

2) Use cognitive reasoning over intuition

A cognitive approach is critical when selecting talent. Create vetting questions that will provide a clear insight into the strengths and weaknesses of a professional. Take the time to focus on collecting the facts, not drawing conclusions. If you focus on collecting the facts, the conclusions will be obvious.

“When people believe a conclusion is true, they are also very likely to believe arguments that appear to support it, even when these arguments are unsound.”

― Daniel Kahneman, Thinking, Fast and Slow

3) Speak in algorithms

Speak in algorithms, so the language the team uses is focused on collecting data to complete the math. Math does not lie. To calculate the value of a candidate, the leader must solve the following equation:

Resources x Strategy x Candidate/ Time = Return on Investment

4) Encourage vetting as a team

Vetting is a team event, providing multiple perspectives and a more well-rounded view of a candidate’s fit.  Double-vetting is critical to our process here at Misura Group, standing in each other’s blind spots and calling out each other’s biases.

5) Gather indirect reference checks

People lie on reference checks. This is a tough obstacle for companies and corporate recruiters to overcome as their intentions are not shrouded, making a genuinely unbiased reference highly rare. One of the most valued aspects of our vast network in the industry is the ability to call a president to discuss an opportunity that might be of interest, then asking the question, “in your career, who are some of your proudest mentees?” What this is really driving for is a reference on a manager that reported to him years ago. If the president selects this professional from a history of leading 20+ leaders, that is an objective reference – worth its weight in gold. When reference checking, it is tough for hiring companies to feign their intentions and minimize exposure to the candidate. In this competitive environment, losing candidates to other companies once they are deemed “on the market” is a significant risk. Not to mention jeopardizing a professional’s current career position and need for confidentiality.


We are all susceptible to biases. When it comes to making smart hiring decisions, don’t underestimate the value of a 3rd party recruiting firm standing in your blind spot. Give us a call to learn more about our process here at Misura Group.

 

Hire Smarter – the Misura Group team

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