Biases That Affect Hiring & Firing

Evidence-based research has shown us several biases exist within modern hiring and firing. Here are a few of them.

Chuma S. Okoro

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Many biases about people exist in organizations that have a heavy impact on the hiring and firing process. Three very impactful ones are implicit personality theory, confirmation bias, and similarity bias. Implicit personality bias has to do with how our brains link observed behavior to unobserved behavior and assume both exist. This can be seen when energetic people are considered to be intelligent, without having seen their intelligence displayed. Confirmation bias has to do with our preconceived notions about someone and how people only notice the new behaviors that align with those behaviors. For those of you who have children, you may see other parents not being able to see that their child is bullying others. This is because they already think their child is good, so they can’t see or hear the bad. Lastly, there is similarity bias. This occurs in nearly all companies where people have more positive feelings about those who are like them. This could be via several characteristics like ethnicity or hobbies. For example, there can be an instance where someone likes the same types of movies as their manager. That is something they can bond over which could lead to more positive feelings from the manager towards the employee because of the similarity. When managing people and organizations, we must make sure we realize our biases and mitigate them as much as possible during hiring and firing.

I wrote this small piece for my course in Managing People and Organizations at the Zicklin School of Business. It is my compilation of the analyses done by the members of my team after reading an excerpt from the textbook: Real Research for Real Managers 5th. Edition. If you enjoyed this, let me know in the comments and please make sure to follow. Thank you!

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Chuma S. Okoro

Sr. Software Engineer @ Bloomberg. I love talking about technology and business. Every article has my opinion backed by my experience, education, and research.