THE UNCONSCIOUS PERSONALITY BIAS

Unconscious personality biases are attitudes and stereotypes which have formed throughout life and can heavily influence our decision making, especially if it is a snap decision that needs to be made. These biases often lead to inaccurate assessments due to faulty rationale.

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What Is Unconscious Personality Bias ?

Unnoticed unconscious bias can result in a narrow pool of candidates being hired or promoted as well as limiting creativity, diversity, and inclusivity within the workplace. It can also affect collaboration between employees and prevent production and innovation. 

These unconscious biases are typically outside of our awareness and are inadvertently affecting those in the workplace. The first step to combating these influenced bias is to become aware of various different biases in order to recognise the behaviour and attitudes in the workplace:

Affinity Bias

Affinity bias leads us to like people who we feel we have similarities or connections with, say if someone you are interviewing went to the same school as you did, it can have a big impact on who you hire. 

In this instance, the people we share an affinity with will be a different interaction than those who we don’t. If a candidate in an interview who you share an affinity with mentions that they are nervous, there is a possibility that you will smile more and encourage them more. However, with a candidate you don’t share an affinity with says the same, you may not be quite as warm towards them. Thus candidate one would seem the best fit for the business over candidate two. 

Halo Effect

The Halo Effect is where one perceives one great thing about a particular person and this halo then continues to influence all your opinions about that one person. 

For example, someone has an impressive award or went to a prestigious college, we will tend to let these achievements influence how we see them. 

Horns Effect

The Horns Effect is the direct opposite of the Halo Effect and this happens when we identify a trait we dislike thus it influences everything we perceive that person. 

For example, if a person dresses a way you may not like, you may also make the assumption that they are lazy and unprofessional, despite competence and professionalism is not directly related to one’s attire.

Attribution Bias

Attribution bias affects how we assess other people and their accomplishments – this primarily affects recruitment. 

We assessing ourselves we tend to consider our achievements as the results of our personality and merit, however, our failings are due to external factors, like luck or chance and other people’s adversely affected us and prevented us from performing our best. 

When we assess others, however, we often think that the opposite is true. We are more likely to believe that their achievements are a form of luck and that their failures are due to their personality and behaviour. 

Confirmation Bias

Confirmation bias is the tendency to search for, interpret, focus on and remember information that aligns with our preconceived opinions. A recruiter has to be very aware when regarding this bias. 

If we make a judgment about a candidate, we subconsciously look for evidence to back up our opinions. We want to believe that we are right and therefore have made the correct assessment of a candidate.

The danger of Confirmation Bias is that our own judgment could be inaccurate and result in a great loss for an employee or employer in the workplace. 

Being made aware our these various personality biases can help you counter their influence over you and aid in more sound decision making.  

Bias Training

For training in unconscious personality bias, call CQ Consultant today on 0780 374 7544 or email Violeta at violeta@cqconsultant.com

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