Building Your Dream Team: Avoiding Bias and Maintaining Positive Relationships in your Hiring Process

In the “Building Your Dream Team” series, we explored the steps to laying the foundation for interviews with effective preparation and the strategy behind interview structure, as well as how to develop the format. So, what comes next when you’re ready to move forward with hiring someone from the group of final candidates?

As the hiring process begins to wind down and the final candidates have been identified, keep in mind that as you strive to foster an inclusive work environment, recognizing biases in the hiring process is crucial. Looking beyond the legal and ethical issues that could occur, hiring bias impacts not only work culture and employee morale, but your organization’s success.

In the hiring process, biases can inadvertently form your decision, which can influence judgments and potentially negatively impact the fairness of your hiring efforts. To address biases effectively, hiring teams need to first recognize that these exist. Here are common biases that may surface during the interview process.

Similarity Bias: An interviewer may favor candidates with backgrounds resembling their own, such as gender, ethnicity, nationality, career history and educational background.

Confirmation Bias: An interviewer may have an initial judgment or opinion of a candidate that affects the rest of the interview, which can ultimately lead to losing a great candidate.

Anchoring: The interviewer relies too heavily on the very first piece of information either offered by a candidate or about a role without evaluating other factors throughout the interview.

Halo-Horn Effect: The interviewer allows one major strength or weakness of a candidate to affect the overall feedback or decision, rather than thinking holistically.

Groupthink: An interviewer may allow the opinions of others to affect one’s feedback or decision rather than building their decision based on the conversations they had with the candidate.

Ambiguity Effect: This is when employers avoid candidates who feel “unknown” – for example, a candidate who worked at an unknown company might be trusted less than one who worked at a well-known company.

Acknowledging and actively working to combat hiring bias is imperative for your organization. Further, it’s a strategic advantage to standing out in today’s competitive work landscape. Prioritizing transparency, communication and respect throughout the hiring process will ultimately improve an organization’s reputation and nurture an invaluable talent pipeline.

Building and Maintaining Relationships with Talent

The journey to inclusive hiring practices in today’s dynamic workplace doesn’t end with selecting candidates; maintaining a positive relationship with applicants, regardless of the outcome, is equally as important. Communication is key when building and maintaining these relationships. The approach should be centered on transparency, realistic expectations and constructive feedback. Prioritize clear and timely communication throughout the entire process, from starting interviews to post-interview feedback.

An additional component to successful relationships involves creating a talent community, where top candidates who weren’t selected for a role can be notified for future opportunities to stay engaged and connected. Lastly, gathering feedback from candidates through surveys or post-interview discussions is vital to an organization’s future success. By actively seeking input on the candidate’s experience, organizations can refine and enhance their hiring process to ensure a positive experience for future candidates.

Applying these interview strategies covered in the Building Your Dream Team series plays an important role in shaping the success and reputation of an organization. From interview preparation and question formulation to relationship management with candidates, each stage contributes to the overall effectiveness and success of the hiring process. Embracing these strategies ensures the selection of top-tier candidates and a commitment to a workplace culture that values transparency, fairness and long-term relationships.

As you embark on the journey of building your dream team, navigating the hiring process can be complex and daunting. Consider reaching out to our Sikich HR experts to unlock insights and strategies tailored to your unique needs, ensuring that every hire is a success.

About our Authors

Laura Fischer, PHR, leads the talent acquisition consulting team within Sikich’s Human Capital Management & Payroll practice. With over a decade of experience in Human Capital, Laura has worked with hundreds of organizations, spanning across several industries and varying in size, to meet short-term objectives, while driving long-term organizational growth.

With over 20 years of experience in recruiting and talent acquisition, Lisa Trujillo, STA, has supported multiple industries, from luxurious casino hotel resorts and national security and defense leaders to global geothermal renewable energy and SaaS-based start-up companies.

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