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Understanding Interview Bias and How Hiring Managers Can Avoid It

06 Jun 2024 |

By Sophia Voce

Interview Bias
Interview bias is a pervasive issue that can significantly impact the fairness and effectiveness of the hiring process. It occurs when a hiring manager's personal beliefs, experiences, or assumptions unfairly influence their evaluation of a candidate. Recognising and mitigating interview bias is crucial for hiring managers committed to fostering a diverse and inclusive workplace. In this blog, we’ll explore the different types of interview bias and provide actionable strategies to avoid them.

Types of Interview Bias

Affinity Bias

Affinity bias occurs when a hiring manager favours candidates who share similar interests, backgrounds, or experiences. This bias can lead to a lack of diversity within the team, as managers may unconsciously prefer candidates who are like themselves.

Confirmation Bias

Confirmation bias involves seeking out information that confirms pre-existing beliefs or stereotypes. A hiring manager might focus on aspects of a candidate's background that support their initial impression, ignoring information that contradicts it.

Halo Effect

The halo effect happens when a positive impression in one area influences the overall perception of a candidate. For example, if a candidate has an impressive educational background, a hiring manager might overlook their lack of relevant experience.

Horns Effect

The horns effect is the opposite of the halo effect. A negative impression in one area disproportionately affects the overall evaluation. For instance, if a candidate makes a minor mistake early in the interview, the manager might unfairly judge their entire performance.


Stereotyping involves making assumptions about a candidate based on their gender, ethnicity, age, or other characteristics. This type of bias can lead to discriminatory hiring practices and undermine the diversity of the workforce.

Strategies to Avoid Interview Bias

Structured Interviewing

Adopting a structured interview format is one of the most effective ways to minimise bias. This involves asking all candidates the same set of predetermined questions, ensuring that everyone is evaluated based on the same criteria. Additionally, use a standardised scoring system to objectively assess each response.

Diverse Interview Panels

If possible, including a diverse group of interviewers can help balance individual biases. A varied interview panel brings different perspectives and reduces the likelihood of one person’s biases affecting the hiring decision.

Bias Awareness Training

Providing training on unconscious bias for all individuals involved in the hiring process is essential. Educate your team on the various types of biases and their impact on hiring decisions. This awareness is the first step towards creating a more objective and fair hiring process.

Blind Recruitment

Implement blind recruitment practices to further reduce bias. Ask your recruiter to remove personal information such as names, ages, genders, and educational institutions from resumes before they are submitted or uploaded to your recruitment portal. This helps ensure that candidates are evaluated solely based on their skills and experiences.

Standardised Evaluation Criteria

Develop clear and standardised evaluation criteria for assessing candidates. Define the key competencies and skills required for the role and create a rubric to score candidates objectively. This approach helps ensure that all candidates are assessed based on the same criteria, minimising the influence of personal biases.

Behavioural Interviewing Techniques

Focus on behavioural interviewing techniques that evaluate past experiences and behaviours as indicators of future performance. Ask candidates to provide specific examples of how they handled situations relevant to the role. This method encourages candidates to demonstrate their competencies through real-life experiences, making it easier to assess their suitability objectively.

Promoting Inclusion

Foster a culture of inclusion throughout the hiring process. Encourage interviewers to consider how candidates can contribute to the organisation’s diversity and inclusivity goals. Emphasise the importance of valuing different perspectives and experiences.

Continuous Feedback and Reflection

Regularly seek feedback on your hiring process from candidates and interviewers alike. Reflect on the effectiveness of your strategies in reducing bias and make adjustments as necessary. Regularly reviewing and refining your interview process ensures that it remains fair and objective.

Documenting Decisions

Maintain thorough documentation of the interview process and the rationale behind hiring decisions. Record notes on each candidate’s responses and how they were evaluated against the set criteria. This transparency helps ensure accountability and provides a clear justification for your decisions, should they be questioned.

In Conclusion

Interview bias is a significant challenge in the hiring process, but it can be effectively managed with the right strategies. By understanding the different types of bias and adopting these various strategies, hiring managers can create a fairer and more objective hiring process.

In need of a recruitment partner? Our highly experienced and dedicated team of Recruitment Consultants are ready to help. Get in touch today – recruit@vwa.com or call us on 020 7225 1888.

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