Diversity & Inclusion, Recruiting

The Pervasiveness of Subjective Hiring

In today’s labor market, many employers are just happy to acquire any talent they can get their hands on. However, it’s still important for recruitment teams to focus on finding the best fit for the needs and culture of the organization. And with fewer candidates submitting applications, employers are well advised to carefully review available applicants to prevent a great catch from slipping away.

subjective hiring

Many Hiring Decisions Are Subjective

Unfortunately, data suggests that many companies are plagued by subjectivity, meaning the personal preferences, biases, and impressions of their recruitment teams may override the objective needs of the organization. According to the annual Global Hiring Survey by video interviewing, assessments, and text-enabled recruiting tool company HireVue, over a third (38%) of hiring teams make hiring decisions based on gut instinct, and roughly one-third (31%) hire based on personal connections.

These significant sources of subjectivity mean the candidate who is ultimately selected to fill an open position may have gotten the job because of his or her prior association with someone in the recruitment process, not his or her actual fit and qualifications. Moreover, when “gut feelings” and “personal connections” are used in making hiring decisions, diversity often suffers because people tend to both associate with and have a good feeling about people who look like them and who come from similar backgrounds.

Importance of Objectivity

Often, organizations that use subjective criteria and evaluation lack clear objective criteria to use in the recruitment process. The more objective criteria that can be leveraged, the less opportunity there is for subjective criteria to fill in the gaps. For example, recruitment teams that compare candidates based on whether they self-identify as possessing the skills that are important to the position may come to a different decision than those that go with a gut feeling.

Good talent is difficult to come by in today’s labor market. Companies simply can’t afford to overlook the best-available candidates because their recruitment processes are too subjective. Embedding objective measures into the process is a simple way to help avoid the implicit biases that can lead to hiring the wrong person and cause you to miss out on opportunities for greater diversity and inclusion.

Lin Grensing-Pophal is a Contributing Editor at HR Daily Advisor.

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