by Sharon Florentine
Originally published: January 19, 2017
Biases don't affect only your ability to hire diverse candidates -- they limit your ability to hire all qualified candidates.
Training to eliminate unconscious bias is the norm nowadays, at least in Silicon Valley firms struggling to hire diverse workforces. But biases don't just impede your efforts to hire diverse candidates, they hurt results across all candidates, according to Dr. John Sullivan, an HR-thought leader, speaker, author, consultant and a professor of management at San Francisco State University (basically, if there's such a thing as an HR celebrity, he fits the bill).
Sullivan makes a great point that unconscious biases aren't just about race or sex. They are also around things like people with "passive personalities," as indicated by a lack of eye contact or a weak handshake or those with visible tattoos. Those people might be fantastic at the role they're interviewing for, but the interviewer's preference for, say, strong handshakes and extroverted people without tattoos is just as much a bias as someone discounting a black female's ability to write code.