What are the biases holding Mid-Market CEOs from recruiting the best talent?

The cognitive biases holding Mid-Market CEOs from recruiting the best talent

Challenging personal assumptions will lead to less discrimination in the recruiting process.

As mid-market CEOs, building a well-rounded team of talented individuals that can push your business to the next level is essential. However, the challenge lies in recruiting top talent while navigating a multitude of biases and assumptions within the marketplace. This can make it challenging to find and hire people who bring diverse perspectives and fresh ideas to your team – let alone get past these potential roadblocks during the recruitment process. By understanding potential unconscious biases in your decision-making, you can ensure that your hiring practices are not prone to these biases.

Many biases can sabotage your performance, especially in recruiting and hiring talent. The good thing is that a bias’ power to influence your behavior is lessened once you are aware of its existence. The following are three biases that commonly occur in the hiring process.  


Conformity bias can lead people to sway their opinions of a candidate to reflect the majority’s views. The issue is that the majority is not always correct, and your team may lose out on a great applicant because group discussions can muddy individual viewpoints.

How to avoid this bias: After the interview, ask each hiring team member to write down and submit their thoughts on the applicant before your team meets to discuss them. Then, have your group meet to discuss what everyone had written down so you may hear their unbiased thoughts and prevent conformity bias.


Although this may appear innocent, people often make snap judgments and erroneous assumptions about others before fully understanding their circumstances. Possibly due to abnormal information in an applicant’s résumé or unexpected conduct during the interview, hiring managers and recruiters may rule out a prospect from consideration for the position.

How to avoid this bias: Ask the applicant further clarifying questions if something on their résumé or something they said during the interview led you to make assumptions about them. For example, ask the candidate what occurred instead of assuming they are unqualified for the position because they were late for the interview; it could have been unintentional and not typical for them.


When you scan a résumé to learn more about the applicant before the interview, be aware of the possible bias introduced into the process. Confirmation bias is where you are consciously or unconsciously only looking for information to confirm your prior beliefs. By noting details like where they’re from or where they went to school, you establish beliefs about that person that may accompany you into the interview, as a result, direct your questions to confirm your initial beliefs.

How to avoid this: Even though every interview will naturally lend itself to a distinctive discourse, it’s crucial to ask standardized, skills-based questions that provide every applicant an equal opportunity to stand out. By doing this, you can stop your team from asking too many impromptu questions that may result in confirmation bias.

By examining and assessing your thought patterns, as well as your teams’, for signs of these biases, you can better recognize and challenge them during the hiring process. By tackling your self-imposed limits head-on, you will create a powerful strategy that propels your recruiting strategy forward.

Charles Good 
President, Institute for Management Studies
775-322-8222  |  ims-online.com  |  charles@ims-online.com

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