Blog > diversity in hrm

What types of biases can affect recruitment, and can we do anything to mitigate them? Part 2

What types of biases can affect recruitment, and can we do anything to mitigate them? Part 2

Welcome to part 2 of the types of recruitment that can affect hiring practices within a workplace. By the end of this post, you will realize that there seem to be a lot of trends and similarities between the different types of biases and that a kind of bias can trigger or affect another.

here is a link to part 1 if you have not read it yet! What types of biases can affect recruitment, and can we do anything to mitigate them? Part 1.


As a reminder, here is the complete list of the terms that we will be addressing in this miniseries:


  1. Conscious bias
  2. Unconscious bias
  3. Confirmation bias
  4. Affect heuristics
  5. Expectation anchor
  6. Halo effect
  7. Horn effect
  8. Overconfidence bias
  9. Similarity attraction bias
  10. Illusory correlation
  11. Affinity bias
  12. Beauty bias
  13. Conformity bias
  14. Contrast effect and judgement bias


Here are the remaining types of biases that were not covered in part 1:


Overconfidence bias:


  • Overconfidence bias is often subjective to a specific recruiter in the process, they believe that they have the best ability to pick a good candidate based on their assumption of what is ‘good’ in terms of skills and experience, and they will not consult with others in the hiring process in terms of deliberating candidates. This can allow much different bias in terms of affinity and formation bias to creep into the recruitment process making it an unfair process for candidates when a recruiter solely believes they have the correct ideologies for what is right/wrong.


Similarity Attraction bias:


  • This is somewhat self-explanatory and much like affect heuristics, it has a psychological predetermination involved. This form of bias is concerned with the predetermination that people are more comfortable and attracted to those who look similar or may have a similar cultural background. This is because you feel like it may be easier to build a rapport with them because there will be many similar things between you, this can become a problem when a recruiter cares more about the commonalities between them and the candidate in comparison to the skills they possess that will make them suitable for the vacant position.


Illusory Correlation:


  • This is a somewhat scientific principle and it can intact be tested and researchers can make statements and falsify their claims. In that capacity, it is more difficult to prove bias. However, when an individual makes claims about any two random variables, i.e. a hijab-wearing woman will be more passive or shy- they will deem this to be true regardless of whether it is true or not.


Affinity bias:


  • This is very similar to similarity attraction bias, in which you will have an affinity or likeness towards someone like you. This is something that is often akin to recruitment practices, the premises of affinity bias is slightly broader and can link to precious educational institutions, home town, mutual friends etc. This can affect our hiring, as again we are focusing on the affinity and likeness to ourselves as opposed to the skill and experiences. Much of the time the connectivity factors are not relevant to the suitability of the vacancy and as you can see from the previous biases this seems to be a common trend within recruitment.


Beauty bias:


  • This is directly linked to the horn and halo effect where the beautiful people are considered more competent. Though this time it is not related to any ideology of an individual being traditionally beautiful, rather it is subjective to the recruiter who sees the candidates and interviews them. This can be if an individual has features that are promoted as beautiful in the mass media or it can be due to an attraction towards their physical appearance.


Conformity bias


  • This is another psychologically determined one. Conformity is when an individual gives into peer pressure from the people around them. This is the opposite to Overconfidence bias, where an individual’s views in recruitment is affected by their peers who are delegated to make decisions with them. In some cases this kind of recruiter finds it incredibly difficult to have their say in the recruitment process and can have their voice overshadowed by other making decisions as well.


Judgement bias


  • This is an interesting one as this is so wildly unconscious that many recruiters might not even realize they are doing it. Imagine you are going through a stack of resumes, are you comparing the resume of the current candidate to the entire cohort or are you comparing it to the previous candidate? This can lead to shifting priorities in who you want to hire from a resume-to-resume basis, and this can mean that in a holistic sense, some of the candidates will be judged more harshly or lenient judgement based on the CV that came before theirs, mainly if there are a lot of candidates for a vacancy.


There are some methods and techniques that are reasonable and have evidence to prove they are effective in reducing certain types of biases, one of which [name blind recruitment] we have already explored, and you can check out on our website!

  • Try a Blind Hiring Process. ...
  • Implement Skills Tests. ...
  • Spread Awareness With Educational Sessions. ...
  • Move to a Structured Interview Process. ...
  • Start With a Diverse Hiring Team. ...
  • Test for biases…


 We would like to credit and Thrive Map for being useful knowledge bases for us to research for this article. 

Here at DJM, we aim to be as inclusive as possible, so for people who want or need audio material, it will be available soon via a podcast! Stay tuned!