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Unconscious Bias

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Unconscious Bias

Being aware and eliminating unconscious bias in the recruitment process is crucial to establishing a high-performing team and has a ripple effect of attracting exceptional candidates. During the recruitment process, unconscious bias and affinity bias often express themselves as a preference for one candidate or another because of “culture fit.” You may have also heard of the 4 A’s that can create bias when considering a particular candidate i.e. a tendency to have a bias towards those that are 1) Affable 2) Articulate 3) Attractive 4) Affinity.

Some of us might be conscious of some of the biases we have, however, our unconscious biases are generally things that we are unaware of, hence the term. By putting checks and balances in our own decision making we can move the ‘unconscious’ to our conscious awareness.

The unconscious or implicit bias is the term for the mental processes that cause a person to act in ways that reinforce stereotypes, even when our conscious mind deems that behaviour counter to our value system. Closely related to unconscious bias is affinity bias in which people tend to gravitate towards others who look, act, and think as they do.

An effective way to combat unconscious bias in the recruitment process is through establishing strong internal processes and investing in the training of your hiring team.

Job Descriptions and Job adverts are often the main attraction tool in the recruitment process, the language used can unconsciously communicate to readers that they are not the right fit. When crafting your job advert use inclusive language, carefully consider word choice and include references to your company's Diversity, Equity and Inclusion resources.

Investing in training of hiring managers is crucial to help their awareness and ensure they are less reliant on the ‘soft stuff’ in a recruitment process which tends to favour a type of individual. The term ‘soft stuff’ can often result in bias, enabling hiring managers to use their discretion to hire people who are similar to them, whom they feel comfortable with, who act like them and who talk like them.

Partnering with a recruiter is often a good way to limit the unconscious bias in the recruitment process. Here at CoLegal, we regularly upskill to ensure we are recruiting for diversity and can provide an outsider’s view on a candidate’s background to ensure you hire the person most likely to perform and succeed in a role. We also spend time with our clients empowering them to take bias out of the hiring processes.

Recognising and addressing unconscious bias is an ongoing journey that requires commitment, education, and continuous reflection. Organisations that actively confront bias in their decision-making processes not only foster a more inclusive and equitable workplace but also position themselves as leaders in the pursuit of excellence through diversity.

Give our team of expert Legal Recruiters a call if you are looking to increase the diversity of your legal team.