Job seekers know how stressful it can be to look for employment. But this is a shout out to employers and hiring managers who also deal with their own stress when faced with hiring the best talent possible. Most people who make hiring decisions are sincere about their objectivity, but often it’s the unconscious biases that seep through, leaving even the most seasoned managers unaware of their effect.

How can we put these in the forefront of our awareness so that we prevent our own biases influence hiring decisions? Here are a few tips.

A candidate by any other name…is still the same candidate. Try not to judge a candidate by his or her name. Something as simple as a person’s name can trigger an unconscious bias for the interviewer. A University of Chicago/MIT study showed that people with more common, easy to pronounce names garnered more responses to their resumes than others – and it was the exact same resume. Remember that we don’t choose our own name, and besides, once we get to know a person, the name is just part of them and we don’t even think twice about it.

Keep an open mind. You might feel that you already do this, but it’s good to check yourself and be aware if you’re looking to confirm something noted on a resume. For example, the candidate’s college might not be the best for certain skills, but try not to look for proof of a lack of skills in the interview. Confirmation bias can lead you to ignore really positive things about someone.

Look beyond the physical. Try not to make decisions based on first impressions and someone’s abilities based on physical appearances.  Talk to the person and get to know their true abilities and experience. Often some of the best workers can be overlooked due to superficial things.

Hear everyone out. You might already be planning on hiring someone from within the company, or a great contact from a colleague. Still hear everyone out. Sometimes when this is the case, interviews with other candidates just skim the surface and it’s the employer who is missing out. You never know which candidate in front of you is actually better for the job, or perfect for another one coming up.

Test a candidate’s actual skills. For some types of jobs, hiring managers can perform assessment testing instead of, or above and beyond looking at resumes. Find out how a candidate does with the skills that are expected in a specific job. It might relieve you of some tough decisions.

Hire with confidence. Assess your job candidate’s skills using the IBM Kenexa Employee Assessments that assess and measure talent to predict performance. Over 1200 assessment tests available.

Looking for more ideas and coaching to make great hiring choices? We’re here to help.

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