Building a Winning Business – Bias in Hiring


Building A Winning Business — Section: Hiring

To improve your interviews with job candidates, be aware of your own biases and the tendency to make snap judgments. Author Malcolm Gladwell, in his best-selling book Blink, chronicles the human tendency to make huge decisions in the “blink of an eye” based on a person’s appearance, the color of her eyes, or whether he reminds us of someone else.





  • Most of us don’t even realize we make decisions about others based on such shallow “information,” which is why we need systems to override our very human tendency to size someone up unconsciously and subjectively.
  • Here’s a tip for keeping biases in check. Make a note of your initial impressions and then set that aside. Try to keep your mind open as you learn more about the potential candidate and be willing to alter your original impression. Your goal should be to keep your initial impressions from outweighing other evidence about the person gleaned from a rigorous hiring process.

Tom’s Takeaway:  “It’s human nature to size someone up in the ‘blink of an eye,’ but savvy hiring managers consciously set their initial impressions aside and take the time to assess a candidate thoroughly before making a decision.”

Thoughts Since the Book

An in depth, five to 10 step, gated process with many people involved in the interview helps eliminate any one person’s bias.

Today, we also look for bias in the candidate.  A previous candidate was interviewing with one of our teams.  During the interview, he didn’t look at or address a female employee.  Clearly, we chose not proceed with this candidate.