Guidance to Unconscious Bias at Shortlisting and Interview

Unconscious Bias

Unconscious bias refers to a bias that we are unaware of, and which happens outside of our control. It is a bias that happens automatically and is triggered by our brain making quick judgments and assessments of people and situations, influenced by our background, cultural environment and personal experiences.  As a guide Unconscious Bias:

•Is a normal part of how we make decisions.
•Helps us act quickly and make sense out of the vast amounts of information we are exposed to in our everyday lives.
•Provides a necessary ‘mental shortcut’ that fills gaps in our knowledge with similar data from past experiences.
•Influences how we see ourselves and others in a way which is hidden from our conscious mind.
Once we accept that we all naturally use subconscious mental shortcuts, then we can take time to consider them and reflect on whether such implicit thought processes are inappropriately affecting the objectivity of our decision-making.  This is particularly relevant for Recruitment & Selection where we are looking to objectively assess candidates on the merit and evidence of their application rather than other factors.  For this reason we have produced the following guides on Unconscious Bias for both candidate shortlisting and candidate assessment at interview.
unconscious bias shortlisting (PDF, 104kB)
unconscious bias and interview (PDF, 186kB)