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How to avoid recency bias in job interviews

  • By Manav Jain
  • April 18, 2024
  • 3 mins read
Recency bias can impact the outcome of the interviews.
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    In any decision-making situation, it’s essential to avoid bias. This is especially true regarding something as important as hiring someone for a job. One type of bias that can creep into the hiring process and make it impossible to conduct unbiased interviews is recency bias.

    Recency bias is when you give more weight to information that’s fresh in your mind while disregarding older information. This can happen without you even realizing it. For example, you’re interviewing two candidates for a job. The first candidate was interviewed a week ago, and the second candidate was interviewed today. It’s easy to see how you might be more impressed with the second candidate simply because their interview is fresher in your mind.

    Of course, this isn’t fair to the first candidate. They should be judged on their own merits, not when interviewed. So, how can you avoid falling victim to recency bias?

    Here are three tips:

    1) Be aware of your biases. We all have them, so it’s important to catch yourself if you find that you’re giving more weight to recent information.

    2) Consider the whole candidate funnel. Don’t just focus on the recent interview or resume; take everything into account for conducting unbiased interviews.

    3) Focus on the future. When making a hiring decision, think about what kind of employee will excel in the role long-term rather than who did well in their interview today.

    Also Read: Revolutionize Your Hiring Process With AI-Driven Pre-Employment Assessments

    The problem with recency bias.

    Recency bias is the tendency to give more weight to recent information when making decisions and ignoring older information. This can lead to bad decision-making, as we place too much importance on new information and not enough on more senior, possibly more relevant information.

    How does recency bias impact job interviews?

    Recency bias can impact job interviews in several ways, making conducting unbiased interviews impossible. For example, if you’ve just had a great interview with a candidate, you may be more likely to hire them, even if they’re not the best qualified for the job. Or, if you’ve just had a bad interview with a candidate, you may be less likely to hire them, even if they’re the best qualified for the job. Either way, recency bias can lead to hiring the wrong person for the job.

    Recency bias can also impact the way you view job candidates. For example, if you’ve just had a great interview with a candidate, you may be more likely to view them favorably, even if they’re not qualified for the job. Or, if you’ve just had a bad interview with a candidate, you may be less likely to view them favorably, even if they’re the best qualified for the job. Either way, recency bias can lead to viewing job candidates in a distorted way.

    Also read: Explained: What Are Game Based Assessments?

    How to avoid recency bias.

    Recency bias is a cognitive bias when people give disproportionate weight to recent information when making decisions. This can lead to bad decision-making in various situations, including job interviews.

    Be aware of your bias

    To avoid recency bias, you must be aware of your biases. We all have them, and there’s no shame in admitting that you’re not immune to them. Once you know about the hiring bias, you can start to correct them.

    Consider the whole candidate funnel

    When considering candidates for a job, you must believe everything you know about them, not just their most recent behavior. This means looking at their entire application, not just their resume or cover letter. It also means talking to references and previous employers, if possible.

    Focus on the future

    When conducting unbiased interviews, focus on what candidates can do for your company in the future, not just what they’ve done. This may mean asking more hypothetical questions about what they would do in certain situations rather than about specific things they’ve done in the past.

    Following these tips can help avoid recency bias and ensure you’re hiring the best candidate for the job.

    Also Read: 5 Most Common Interview Questions And How To Answer Them

    Conclusion

    Recency bias can harm job interviews by skewing the perception of the interviewer for the candidate. To avoid this, you must ensure unbiased interviews, consider the whole candidate, and focus on the future. By doing this, you can ensure that you make the best hiring decision for your company.

    FAQs

    What is recency bias?

    Recency bias refers to the inclination to give excessive significance to recent experiences or the most recent information when predicting future events.

    What is interview bias?

    Interviewer bias arises when the interviewer evaluates a candidate not solely on their skills and competencies but also on unspoken or unconscious criteria, leading to a less objective interview.

    What are unbiased interview questions?

    Unbiased interview questions avoid emphasizing or incorporating factors related to protected characteristics, such as race, gender, age, or other attributes that could influence a biased hiring decision.

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