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Detecting implicit bias in hiring practices as an applicant

On Behalf of | Mar 18, 2024 | Firm News |

Implicit bias in hiring processes can influence employers in evaluating candidates based on non-relevant factors, such as gender, race, age or appearance rather than qualifications and merit. Unfortunately, these biases can often be deeply ingrained and can influence hiring decisions without hiring officers being aware of them.

If you underwent a hiring process and felt like there was implicit prejudice but could not tell for certain, here are signs that may help.

Where to look

Though not readily observable, implicit bias can manifest in various ways. It is usually present in the following aspects of the hiring process:

  • Job advertisement and descriptions: If the language used in job advertisements and descriptions seems to lean towards a particular gender, age, race or ethnicity, it might be an indicator of implicit bias. For example, using terms like “young and energetic” could discourage older applicants.
  • Selection process: If employers consistently do not select certain groups of people for interviews despite having similar or better qualifications than those they selected, this could indicate bias in the resume review process.
  • Interview questions and flow: The types of questions asked during an interview can help determine whether there is implicit bias or not. If the questions seem irrelevant to job performance or are inconsistent across candidates, it could suggest bias. For instance, employers ask women applicants about family and marital status more often than men, which can be a form of gender bias.
  • Evaluation criteria: There may be implicit bias if the criteria for evaluating candidates seem to shift, particularly after the interviewer learns certain demographic information about a candidate.

As an individual applicant, it can be challenging to detect implicit bias with certainty without access to broader data on the hiring practices of the company. Nonetheless, this should not discourage you from further inspecting the hiring process and exploring options if you confirm your suspicions.

If you believe you have experienced discrimination during the hiring process, you can consider seeking advice from an employment law attorney specializing in workplace discrimination.