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November 19, 2019

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Overcoming inherent bias in recruitment

March 6, 2018

Andy McLeod loves hunting. Think on that for a minute. Did it raise any strong emotion in you? Was your knee-jerk reaction one of indignation? Or did you think nothing of it?

Andy, the Director of Sales & Partnerships with New Zealand’s Fluent IQ, wants our industry to talk about unconscious bias.

 

 Andy McLeod, Director of Sales and Partnerships at Fluent IQ

 

With more than 25 years in the recruitment game he has plenty of tales to tell and has seen first-hand the impact that bias has on business and candidates alike.

 

Back to Andy’s hunting. If we were to tell you that Andy’s hunting is about a sustainable field-to-plate philosophy, that he is an Honorary Officer protecting marine life and hates sport hunting, would it change your initial thinking about the topic?

 

If you had a reaction to hearing Andy was a hunter – good or bad – chances are you are being influenced by some sort of bias. And that is the issue at hand.

 

Bias is often inherent, it happens automatically, and it can be hard to keep in check if not properly monitored.

 

This of course comes into play within the talent sector everyday and is posing some big challenges for the entire sector, on both sides of the fence.

 

Everyone has bias – that’s not the problem

 

“We all have our biases, it’s part of who we are as people, and that is not always the spectre the word comes with” Andy said. “When I am at a party, I gravitate towards people who like to fish and hunt because that’s what I like to do, that’s still bias.

 

“Hunting is something some people may have a negative reaction to. And again, that is also fine because bias is an emotive area – particularly when it starts to impact on others.

“I think as an industry, we need to start talking more about what forms of bias exist, and how they can be negated in the recruitment process.”

 

For Andy, part of the issue has been what he describes as the “de-humanising” of candidates in the recruitment sector.

 

“As a sector, we have lost our humanity to some extent,” Andy said. “During my time in the sector, we have definitely shifted to being too focused on the processing of candidates.”