A Real Pain in the Assumption Biases when Hiring


Bias in hiring is not limited to discrimination against people belonging to specific groups or having certain traits. We must also watch for assumption biases. Without careful thought, we may select people based on hidden assumptions about the role, the environment, ourselves, and the candidates.

For example, take this assumption: “I have to get along with the person we hire.” Though it sounds natural, it is a huge, undocumented bias that leads to selecting people because they are like us rather than because they will be effective in the role.

Of course, we are not looking to hire people who are offensive. We merely want to expose and balance that desire to work with comfortable people. Maybe the answer is to expand our definition of what “get along with” means. Or maybe the answer is to expand our comfort zones.

Other big assumption biases include what work needs to be done by the role, how we’ll measure success in the role, and how the job should be done, managed, and rewarded.

Once we know about these unexpected biases in hiring, we can easily minimize them for everyone’s benefit.


In your corner,



Today’s photo credit: Grzegorz Chrupała cc

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