Do you feel that you or someone you know has ever experienced hidden bias in the work place or even during the recruiting and hiring process? Explain. Give examples. (Sasha Marshalls)
In the workplace I can’t honestly say that I’ve ever experienced hidden bias or even during the recruiting and hiring process for a position that I’ve interviewed for. Just because I didn’t recognize it or wasn’t aware of it doesn’t however mean that it hasn’t happened before. I’m sure plenty of people know what it is like to be victim of hidden bias within the workplace.
Outside of the workplace, on the other hand, I can recall a time when I believe I experienced hidden bias. I became pregnant with my daughter at 19 years old, during my second year in college. When people learned that I was pregnant the most repetitive question that I was asked was “what about school?” Was it due to my race? I didn’t think that was the case, but more so my age. The fact that I was young and in college I got the impression that people expected me to dropout because perhaps having a baby and I was still a “baby” was going to be too much responsibility. Or maybe it was assumed that I wasn’t mature enough to be raising a child because all college students do is party during their first years.
2. Do you believe that the beauty bias exists? Have you ever seen either beauty bias or similar-to-me bias is the work place? Explain. Might it also exist in reverse? Support your answers
I strongly believe that beauty bias is still an issue today. When you hear the term beauty bias it is almost impossible not to think about Hooters. You’ve never seen a male serving in the tight shirt and small orange shorts and all of the girls are pretty with long hair and a petite frame. There’s probably a ton of people that told themselves not to even bother with applying for the waitress position because they didn’t look like the girls that are marketed for the restaurant.
In my position, the company I worked for I believe had similar-to-me bias. All of the top management people looked just like the CEO by appearance. In some ways they all behaved the same as well. The office was divided into two sides. One side was the call center where I worked and the other side was where all of management sat. We often referred to that side as “the other side” because you could definitely feel the segregation. Sadly, many times when one of them came on our side, even the CEO, they didn’t acknowledge us or say good morning or good afternoon.
3. Discussing the halo effect or cognitive bias, what can an interviewer do to be conscious of their bias during the hiring process? What are some ways that employers and employees can help eliminate hidden biases in the workplace?
The first step in being conscious of bias is to actually recognize that you have them and what they are. Often times many people aren’t aware that they are bias in some sort of way. It is important to know the forces that dominate the decisions that we make, especially when it involves hiring people and staffing an organization. Tools are available for anyone to assess whether or not they have hidden biases. The Implicit Association Test (IAT) is a well-respected tool designed to uncover hidden biases about everything from race to gender to age (Wilkie, 2014).
Wilkie, D. (2014, December 1). Bringing Bias into the Light. HR Magazine, 22-27.
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Perhaps the most interesting aspect of the post is the hidden bias that people can have because somebody is too young. Usually, one believes bias has to do with characteristics that are socially undesirable. Nevertheless, it is important to see that it can also occur when a person does not believe that the applicant can handle the responsibilities due to traits that are usually seen as positive. Furthermore, I believe that it is natural for people that are alike to be biased towards each other. Normally, people believe that they are qualified for the job they are doing, and that they can do it well. Therefore, hiring somebody similar would be probably beneficial, as they would also be able to do the job correctly.
I do feel there is hidden bias at my employer and you are lucky to move up and around without knowing the “right person”. I hate to say that but I have seen it so much where there are bias because of relationships and friendships with people. People that are well under qualified compared to their competition but they still get hired because of relationship status. You can have the person who has exceeded in production, have multiple degrees, and more than enough experience and will still get skipped over because they recommended their friend.
I absolutely believe that beauty bias exists. Before watching this week’s video, Hooters was the first place that came to mind. I have never visited a Hooters ad witnessed a female what was not petite and top heavy. I think also new stations are particular about appearance as well because that is their face of their channel. After hours places or night clubs will also hire pretty and sexier women to attract guys to spend more in my opinion.
I can’t really think of a way or a reason that beauty bias could be in reverse and I say this because who would specifically choose a person for a reason of lacking beauty? I can say age could play a factor in bias against beauty if you want a younger face to represent your brand versus an older person may not be as attractive for what you are trying to sell or whatever type of business you may have. This may be a type of beauty bias. For example at Walmart, you typically see older people as the greeter and younger or middle aged person as cashiers. Is this strictly because the greeter is an easier job and fits appropriately for them or is it a beauty bias? I think the similar-to-me bias could be used in reverse for someone not wanting a challenge or competition so they choose a candidate less like them to not threaten their position.
An interviewer can be conscious of their bias during the hiring process by making sure they do not hire only one type or same type of person. Carefully judge a person by skillsets and contribution and not so much on physically appearance or one interaction. Often times there is some nervousness when interviewing and it can come across as unsure or lacking confidence and certainty. This may be why some companies have multiple interviews or more than one person interviewing to eliminate possibly bias behaviors.
Employers and employees can help eliminate hidden bias in the workplace by being fair and following the same process across the board for all candidates whether they are internal, external, or a referral from a fellow associate. Seek out feedback on your recruiting behaviors, prepare people for challenges compared to their capabilities and increase mentoring and coaching are some other ways to avoiding bias behavior.
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The Hooter’s case is also interesting, because this is a part of their brand. Therefore, one can see their whole industry as being biased. I believe that revising the type of people a person has hired is an interesting and effective way to check bias. Furthermore, having more than one recruiter is obviously always better than having just one, as each one will have different biases that will come into play, cancelling each other out.
Do you feel that you or someone you know has ever experienced hidden bias in the work place or even during the recruiting and hiring process? Explain. Give examples.
I do feel like some people get a job or promotions based upon their look. When I was deployed there was a soldier that was very attractive. All the guys used to try to talk to her. She only talked to those she knew she could manipulate by her look. The Sgt liked because of how she looked and she soon got a promotion. She did not know all the things she should have known about being an NCO, but because of her looks, she was popular and her looks got her what she wanted. Not only have I seen this in the organization I work for today, but I have seen it in the Army as well. And it is sad to say but there have been soldier who got promoted based on how they look. I have seen some women get high up in the chain just based on how they look.
Do you believe that the beauty bias exists?
I do feel like the beauty bias exists. Depending upon the company, you may see more of it. They will not tell you these things or make them known when they are doing them. But there is a bias when it comes to how people look. I think of the comments they made in the video about hooter, and they only chose women based on their look. It is their brand, so you will see more and more of that because it is what keeps the customers coming in. I have yet to see a Hooter’s girl that was out of shape, or didn’t look good. I think it can be revered, but when a company wants to sell, or be successful (depending upon the company), they use whatever tactic they have to get the money they want.
Discussing the halo effect or cognitive bias, what can an interviewer do to be conscious of their bias during the hiring process? What are some ways that employers and employees can help eliminate hidden biases in the workplace?
The interviewer can focus on the mission of the company in order to conduct an interview, and in order to keep from choosing a candidate based on what they see or they may perceive about the individual. It the interviewer keeps in mind that they need to pick candidates based on their education or experience, then they can look past those things. They can’t let how person look affect their judgment. A person can look good, talk good, but not know how to comprehend well, nor will they be able to help you achieve success. If they focus on key points, and what is pertinent to the job, then they will not go wrong. In the workplace, an employer must make sure they are being fair in every aspect of the job. Things such as pay, promotions, training, and benefits, should all be given based upon a system that is not bias, and that puts everyone on the same sheet of music. I have seen people go to the top of the ladder based on looks, likes, and how well they follow. There are so many employees who work hard for their degree, and to gain those years of relevant experience, only to be overlooked by someone based upon their personal look. I like that the federal government used things such as KSAs, and your actual resume to choose candidates for a job. This is without knowing how you look. It can eliminate the biases and they will have nothing to go on but what is in that resume, and the answers to those questions.
Reference: Strategic Staffing. Phillips & Gully. 2015 Pearson Education
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This brings up an interesting aspect of bias: the positive economic effects. Even though Hooter’s is largely seen as discriminative, they would not sell so much if they did not have this male-attracting gimmick. It is very understandable for a company to want to have attractive-looking people, as it will probably help them out, especially if these people have to relate to others. It gives them an advantage, like any other positive trait would. Obviously, it depends on the nature of the job, as it is not as important for someone who works in an office job in the government, or in a laboratory, as for a person who deals with people every day.