How conscious are you of your unconscious bias?

Biased, me? Many of us consider ourselves to be completely impartial when it comes to our attitudes to others, but are we really? It’s impossible to get through life without developing some prejudices we might not even be aware of, but it is important to discover our unconscious biases and deal with them.

What Is Unconscious Bias?

Unconscious biases are deep subconscious attitudes towards race, gender, appearance, age, wealth, stereotypes, emotional reactions and more. These hidden drivers can affect a business in different areas such as diversity, affecting company culture, employee career development, and a successful recruitment process.

Unconscious Bias in Recruitment

Below are some examples of unconscious bias to be mindful of during recruitment:

  • Be conscious when writing job specifications. Avoid using job titles such as ”ninjas” or ”gurus” because these terms are considered masculine.
  • Affinity bias is an unconscious preference given to a candidate with whom you identify. You might demonstrate an affinity bias toward somebody who attended the same university as you, enjoys the same hobbies, or shares similar qualities and beliefs.
  • Beauty bias means we are more favourably disposed to physical attractiveness. We unconsciously associate appearance with personality and skills. At a level you are not even aware of, your brain may signal attention to detail when you see immaculate hair.
  • Gender bias is a preference for one gender over the other for certain jobs. This stems from deep-rooted beliefs and stereotypes of gender roles. We tend to expect car mechanics to be male and nurses to be female, for example.

How to Manage Your Unconscious Bias

Now that you understand the meaning of unconscious bias and recognise the various types, you’ll start noticing when you slip into these mind-sets.

There are many ways you can counter your unconscious bias:

  1. Be aware.
  2. View every person as an individual.
  3. Include a variety of people in your recruitment process.
  4. Make a conscious effort to assess others more positively so you can change your outlook to prevent attributions bias.

Dina Vyapuri is the CEO of Techfindr, a specialist cyber security recruitment company headquartered in Listowel, Co. Kerry, with offices in Mauritius. Here, Dina explains why she chose Kerry, both as her home and as a base for Techfindr. 

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