Adverse Impact and Hiring

What do we mean by Adverse Impact?

By Nick Jarman – Research Assistant at Cognisess

…Adverse Impact is most pertinent when it has a negative effect on candidates of a protected class, namely: Age, Disability, Gender, Race, Religion, Sexual Orientation, Marital Status, Pregnancy/Maternity.”

Any candidate, for any role, within any organisation, could potentially be adversely impacted by the way they present themselves at each stage of the selection process.

This Adverse Impact is most pertinent when it has a negative effect on candidates of a protected class, namely: Age, Disability, Gender, Race, Religion, Sexual Orientation, Marital Status, Pregnancy/Maternity.

Adverse Impact can be felt even during apparently neutral processes, a measure of indirect discrimination.

An important aspect of indirect discrimination is that it is often identified statistically. The intention to discriminate is irrelevant. The output of the selection process is the most important factor.

It is worth noting that a policy is not indirectly discriminatory if the action is objectively justified in the absence of a less disadvantageous method of producing the same measure.

Although Adverse Impact can be measured during each stage of a selection process, a general rule of thumb is that the hiring-rate of each minority group must be 80% of the hiring rate of the majority group within that company. For example, if males comprise the majority class within the organisation and 90 males are hired from a pool of 100 then the hiring rate from each other minority group must be at least 72%.

How can we mitigate Adverse Impact in our hiring process?

There are a few general ways in which Adverse Impact can be reduced during a selection process. For one, regular monitoring of pass rates at every stage of the selection process will allow apparently neutral policies to be statistically explored regularly and often. The result is a process within which any indirect discrimination can be detected and rectified before it causes Adverse Impact for any particular class of candidate.


Another method of reducing Adverse Impact in a selection process is by focusing specifically on job-relevant competencies. These might be identified as a result of rigorous job analysis based on the job description, or can be more generic competencies specified at the beginning of the hiring process. The result of a specific focus on job-relevant competencies is to judge every candidate on the exact same competencies, regardless of their personal characteristics, thus removing irrelevant stages.

Related to this is the use of standardised interview techniques. Rather than having a more free-flowing personal interview where the interviewer’s personality and individual interests may be a source of unconscious bias, the interview will contain set questions designed to measure aspects of the job-relevant competencies defined at the start of the hiring process. In addition, constant monitoring of any assessors used within the selection process will serve to identify any unconscious bias creeping into any decision making process before it becomes an Adverse Impact. It also informs the focus on ongoing assessor training.

A final way to help reduce Adverse Impact in a hiring process is to make use of a diverse panel of assessors. This serves a myriad of purposes, not least to help reduce any unconscious bias present within any individual assessor. Introducing a wider diversity of thought will also help reduce any naivety that might occur in establishing the selection process.

Request a demo to learn how Cognisess can address Adverse Impact in your hiring process. http://www.cognisess.com/request-demo

Contact Polly Hill to be kept up to date with Cognisess Insights. – polly@cognisess.com

How Cognisess can empower and reskill the post-pandemic workforce

The pandemic has radically changed the workplace. The way we work has been transformed and there’s been an inevitable surge of technology. For many years, we have discussed the fourth industrial revolution and AI’s impact in the workplace as a disruptive technology. A disruptive technology is when a technology completely transforms an established industry, examples of this include Uber and the smartphone. Machines and algorithms are expected to create 133 million new roles but will replace 75 million positions by 2022, according to the World Economic Forum

This disruptive technology will soon perform the many mundane tasks humans usually undertake. This will not only save time, but allow your employee’s focus to shift to more meaningful work. But in order to do this around 1.4 million employees will need to reskill by 2026. People are the heart of any organisation. Ensuring they have the skills to thrive will allow your business to the same. Many companies are beginning to do this, since the coronavirus outbreak 42% of businesses have increased their reskilling efforts. 

In this blog, we will explore how our platform can facilitate the reskilling process throughout your organisation. 

Assess your employee’s skills

To upskill your workforce you will need to identify their skillset. This will enable you to choose the most appropriate method of training. 

Cognisess has over 60 scientifically-backed assessments which cover hard skills, such as mental arithmetic and spelling, alongside soft skills like emotional intelligence. Soft skills are increasingly in demand due to the advances in technology, so it’s likely you’re aiming to develop this type of skill in your employees.

On the platform, you can select the assessments that are relevant to your upskilling programme.Following this, you can simply assign the assessments to hundreds of employees at once. 

Discover hidden talent

According to Mercer, 78% of employees say they are ready to reskill. The results of the assessments are not only beneficial to the organisation, but the individual. Each test result shows the employee’s skill level in comparison with the general Cognisess’ population. This experience allows the person and the business to have a better understanding of their abilities.

Additionally, their results may uncover hidden talents they didn’t even know they possessed. This may give them the confidence to thrive throughout the retraining process and move into a role they never expected to succeed in. For example, they may thrive in leadership, which LinkedIn identified this year as an in-demand skill. Discovering and investing in your current talent will also create engaged employees, who are more likely to stay at your organisation long term.

Evaluate the process 

It’s important to establish a dialogue with employees before, during and after the upskilling process. A simple method of undertaking this is through our survey tool. It can be stressful for employees to upskill, especially if they are juggling a busy workload, their survey feedback will allow you to adjust the programme so your people can thrive. You could also create a survey so that employees can share what they would like to train in. Not only does this give them a platform to voice their opinions, but also gives HR valuable insight and recommendations for future training. 

You can choose from our survey templates or create your own. The tool is simple and user friendly and allows you to send surveys to departments, individuals or the whole organisation instantly. 

Read more about our surveys here.

Upskilling your employees will ensure they’re ready for the future of work so your organisation can thrive. Our award-winning platform is ready to help you undertake this through our assessments and surveys. If you would like to find out more, please book a demo with our expert team today.

Why virtual recruitment platforms are every company’s secret weapon right now

men looking at a virtual recruitment platform

The coronavirus has changed the way we work. But what is the best way to keep your recruitment process moving whilst ensuring you are still hiring the best candidates? 

At Cognisess we have spent a number of years building the best virtual recruitment platform possible. In fact, we have recently won an award for it. Below we explore how you can move your recruitment process online whilst also looking after your employees.

All of the tools featured in this blog exist on one platform, Cognisess Pro, which means you can do everything on one programme. There is no need to switch to another software to review a candidate’s results after sending out an employee feedback survey. Cognisess Pro can also be accessed anytime and anywhere, meaning your employees and applicants can access it from home. This allows them to give you feedback or apply for a job wherever they feel most comfortable during this time. 

Accurate and Engaging Online Assessments  

online recruitment assessment

Perhaps an assessment centre day may not be suitable or possible right now. Moving an assessment centre online has many benefits. It saves money and it can be completed any time or anywhere. This makes it more accessible to candidates who may have not been able to attend in person due to distance or money. 

Our award-winning online assessment tool has over 60 scientifically-backed games that are tailored to test the attributes that are important to the role you’re recruiting for. From emotional intelligence to mental arithmetic. Candidates typically find our assessments engaging and interesting, making your application process stand out. You can assign the assessments instantly to as many candidates as you want.  

Read about how IHG was able to eliminate the second day of their assessment centre due to our accurate assessments. This resulted in a 50% reduction in assessment centre time and cost.

Online interviews 

Currently, you may not feel safe meeting potential hires in person. Using an online video interview tool is a great replacement solution. It’s also a popular one too, according to the recruitment company Walters People, 67% of companies are now using video interviews to hire workers. 

Finding the right online video tool is important. Our virtual interviewing tool not only helps you interview candidates easily, but also has an optional feature to enhance your decision making. 

Our DeepLearnTM  Video Analysis tool detects a candidate’s true emotion, instead of what they may like to present to an interview panel. This tool is particularly beneficial for sales positions where first impressions and body language is important. Our Computer Vision technology can analyse from 27+ points on the face, searching for emotions such as positivity alongside other attributes relevant to the job frame by frame.  As a result, a business can identify top talent from their entire applicant pool and keep the recruitment process moving. 

Supporting employees 

This is a difficult time for many and some employees may feel disconnected from the company if they are working remotely. Our platform’s not only designed to recruit the best talent, but also support your employees. We have several surveys designed to help you understand your people including:

  • Employer response to COVID-19. This template is for employees and relates to Covid-19 and working in a different way. Sample questions include: What policies/aspects do you feel have worked during this time? And what level of flexibility is provided by your organisation when it comes to getting work done? 
  • Employee Surveys. Comprehensive employee surveys that deliver a thorough understanding of organisational culture, experience and engagement and links to business performance.
  • Daily Mood and Sleep. Daily monitoring of an employee’s mood and sleep, with an emphasis on Health and Wellbeing. You will be able to assess how your workforce is generally feeling, which can inform your general strategy moving forward. 

Create Strong Teams  

Virtual HR Platform

The people you work alongside can often affect your happiness or performance. By using our Team Fit tool you can check if each individual is in the right team. This feature collates and maps an individual’s assessment results via a user-friendly graph against the attributes of others in any defined team or group. The data is divided into two disciplines, social cohesion and cognitive fit. If an employee isn’t the right fit for a team, you can put their data into another group to predict if they would get on better in that team. 

Having a platform that allows you to recruit and check in with your employees is essential during this time. Book a demo today to explore the tools that will allow your company to thrive. 

How to create a fairer recruitment process for BAME applicants

black woman job interview

The recent Black Lives Matter movement has created an awareness of the prominent racial inequality globally. In fact, last year the Guardian reported that black Britons and those of South Asian origin faced shocking discrimination at levels unchanged since the 1960s.

Perhaps your company wants to support this movement by creating a fairer recruitment process. Currently, BAME (Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic) applicants face an uphill battle in the hiring process. Applicants from minority ethnic backgrounds have to send 80% more applications than a white British person before they get a positive response from a company; according to a study by the Centre for Social Investigation at Nuffield College, University of Oxford. Even if they progress onto an assessment centre or interview stage, black and ethnic minority candidates are 14% more likely to be rejected than white candidates. 

But why is this the case? 

Humans unconsciously process 11 million pieces of information per second. In order to manage this mass of data, our brains have had to adapt by creating ‘shortcuts’ to help us make decisions. Without this, we would be paralysed into making no decisions or just random ones. This is called cognitive bias.  Every one of us carries a degree of unconscious bias and is informed by our previous personal experiences, stereotypes and cultural context. 

Although we may not intentionally be applying bias, our brain automatically applies these ‘shortcuts’ to make decisions quickly. For example, Harvard Business School discovered employers aren’t prejudiced against women because of their gender, but because they have the perception that men perform better in certain tasks. Ultimately, these inherent biases can also impact decision-making for BAME candidates in the hiring process. 

How can you rectify this?

Unconscious bias is an inherent part of being human. Once we realise we can be prone to unconscious bias, despite our best efforts, we should be turning to AI as a helpful tool to help keep us compliant and open up the recruitment process.

Our Chief Scientific Officer, Dr Boris Altemeyer, revealed to Information Age that “AI doesn’t have to understand its own unconscious bias, because it has none.” Because AI is objective it can assist you in identifying the strongest candidates. 

Learn more about unconscious bias here. 

Solution: Blind Recruitment 

Creating a fairer recruitment process is simpler than you think with an AI-driven recruitment platform such as Cognisess Pro. Our AI can assess and objectively identify the best candidate by purely focusing on skills and abilities. By combining this with blind recruitment you will create an overall fairer process. Information such as age, gender and race is hidden from assessors and is never taken into account for Cognisess assessments. These details may unconsciously influence a hiring decision. This is called ‘blind recruitment’ and focuses purely on the attributes that matter when hiring a candidate, for instance, emotional intelligence, task switching and resilience. This process provides decision-makers with an in-depth understanding of a candidate’s suitability for the role – regardless of background.

Taking the time to craft a fairer application process may also increase the number of diverse applicants who apply. Additionally, a diverse team has a variety of benefits. For example, it can equate to a more profitable company, a McKinsey report uncovered that “Companies in the top quartile for racial and ethnic diversity are 35 per cent more likely to have financial returns above their respective national industry medians.

Cognisess Pro was recently awarded best AI product in HR by CogX. The platform is data-driven with 50 assessments to choose from measuring over 120 attributes. This range of data has been proven to assist companies like AB InBev and IHG  make better informed and fewer bias decisions about recruitment and assessments.  For example, hotel giant IHG has recently eliminated potential bias by 93.75% using Cognisess Pro, enabling a fairer and more accurate approach to talent management compared to their more traditional recruitment processes.

Although we can’t help our unconscious bias, we can use AI as a tool to help reduce these biases to strive for a fairer recruitment process. Schedule a free demo to find out more.  

The new normal: How has the workplace changed?

computer in new work place

All around the globe the COVID-19 pandemic has taken away lives and jobs, damaged industries and enterprises, and turned the unimaginable into the usual. A return to normal, whenever it comes, will be a different normal. What we do right now will define the future, and yet making decisions and acting with assurance has never been more challenging.

Communication is key

Be aware that what leaders think they’re communicating isn’t always being perceived the way they intend. Research shows that 74% of executives say they are currently helping their employees learn to work in new ways, yet only a third of surveyed employees said the same: a 36-point gap. Moving forward, feedback loops need to be built into all interactions with employees.

Creating a feedback loop

Sustaining communication, collaboration, capabilities and culture in a virtual operating model is now the work of HR leaders. How are they shifting to a full “work-from-home” model that keeps the workforce engaged and productive, setting up virtual agents, keeping track of essential workers in the midst of a crisis, and standing up a robust online learning platform, all while simultaneously planning for re-entry and an unknown new normal?

In response to this, we have created survey templates so you can create this feedback loop. Example templates include quality of life, coping in a new world, leadership check in and working as a team. Alongside these sets of questions, you can add your own, allowing you to ask the questions that are valuable to your organisation. 

Smarter workforce planning

This rapid change means it’s now time to plan accordingly: 

Strategy and company policies that support remote and distributed work, with specific guidelines and rules in place.

• A culture that applies the underlying principles of agility across all aspects of the business, enabled by strong digital communication methods, tools, and ways of working.

An accelerated online, personalised skills and development strategy for employees to adapt to new needs and reshaped business. This can be successfully executed on our online platform, Cognisess Pro – find out more here.  

A renewed vision of talent sourcing, and how work gets done in a remote environment where all resources are now equidistant and accessible digitally. For example, job sharing, crowd-sourcing and distributed talent sourcing

The future is here. By planning and adapting with the current climate you can ensure your employees feel supported during these are uncertain times. Our expert team can assist you with this. Contact us today to discuss how our platform can be your solution.  

How to stay productive when working remotely

woman working remotely

The coronavirus outbreak has transformed the way we work. More employees than ever are working remotely. For some, it may be another challenge to navigate alongside the outbreak. In this blog, we will explore how to stay productive outside the office environment.

Get a consistently good night’s sleep 

A good night’s sleep is key to a productive day. This study found that U.S workers who sleep less compared to the rest of the workforce have “significantly worse productivity, performance, and safety outcomes”. They also estimated a $1,967 loss in productivity for each employee from their lack of sleep. However, if you are feeling particularly stressed about the lockdown it can be hard to fall asleep. This becomes a vicious cycle of needing sleep but not sleeping, causing you to become more tired and stressed. This limits how productive you can be throughout the working day. 

Creating a bedtime routine will help you sleep better. This includes avoiding electronic devices an hour before bed to meditate or read a book instead. The NHS website also advises keeping your bedroom as a place to only sleep in,  as there is “a strong association in people’s minds between sleep and the bedroom.”. If you are working in your room, move your desk to a different space to create the ideal environment to sleep in. 

Work with the right people

Perhaps you are a manager trying to not only manage your productivity, but your team’s too. It can be hard to feel united as a team when you are not in the same room. Team composition can greatly impact on performance. A Bandran Hall Group survey reported that 72% of all organisations viewed team performance as having a positive effect on overall productivity. Cognisess Team Fit can support managers with the evaluation of their teams. For instance, if a sales manager notices one of her teams are not working well together she can use Team Fit from the comfort of her own home to diagnose the imbalance and apply an informed solution.

Team Fit is a tool to help organisations create diverse and high performing teams. Learn more about Team Fit here. If the right people are working together you can ensure that they will be productive without a manager constantly checking in on their progress. 

Based on our analysis of self-reports from employees, teams that have gone through a guided Cognisess Team Fit exercise tend to communicate in a better and more constructive way.

Take a break 

Research conducted by the Draugiem Group found the employees who where the most productive didn’t work longer hours. They took regular breaks, for every 52 minutes they spent working they took a 17-minute break. These breaks were usually taken away from the computer, for instance, taking a walk, reading a book or talking to coworkers (not about work). 

This schedule can easily be performed at home. Taking regular breaks may make you feel more relaxed and in a positive frame of mind to tackle any tricky tasks.    

Although we are in the middle of a pandemic, working remotely doesn’t need to be a challenge. By getting enough sleep, working with the right people and establishing a routine where you take regular breaks will ensure that you are reaching your full potential. If you would like to discuss how our platform and expert team can help you during this challenging time, please contact us. 

How to create a great candidate experience during the coronavirus outbreak

Work sticky notes for coronavirus

At present, 9,529 people in the UK have tested positive for coronavirus. As the population starts self-isolating, how can companies keep connected with the top talent? 

Jobseekers now have plenty of time to apply for positions. However, Recruiting Brief found that 80–90% of applicants say a positive or negative candidate experience can change their minds about a role. By creating an excellent candidate experience you will ensure that your company is an applicant’s top choice.  

At a time where everyone feels a little isolated from the world, it’s more important than ever to keep connected. Using a virtual recruitment platform like Cognisess Pro will help you keep the recruitment process moving. The platform can be accessed at home using a wifi connection, ensuring the safety of your staff and the applicants.   

Here are a few ways you can use our platform to create a great candidate experience. 

Engaging assessments

Perhaps you have an assessment centre day as part of the recruitment process, however, due to the ban on mass gatherings you are unable to undertake this. By rescheduling for later on in the year you are risking the top candidates being hired elsewhere.

On our platform, we have over 60 scientifically-backed assessments that are tailored to test the attributes that are important to the role you’re recruiting for. From emotional intelligence to mental arithmetic. Candidates typically find our assessments engaging and interesting, which will make your application process stand out. You can assign the assessments instantly to as many candidates as you want.  

Read about how IHG was able to eliminate the second day of their assessment centre due to our accurate assessments. This resulted in a 50% reduction in assessment centre time and cost.

Meet them through a video interview

People are an essential part of a company. It is important to hire applicants who will positively represent a business. Although currently you are unable to meet potential hires in person, using a video interview tool will help you meet each applicant virtually. You may also use our DeepLearnTM  Video Analysis tool to detect a candidate’s true emotion at that moment, not what they may like to present to an interview panel.

Each candidate records themselves answering several key questions that have been set by the company. HR professionals are then able to draw conclusions from their own expertise.  Our Computer Vision technology is then able to analyse from 27+ points on the face, searching for emotions such as positivity alongside other attributes relevant to the job frame by frame. As a result, a business can identify top talent from their entire applicant pool and keep the recruitment process moving. 

Keep in contact

80% of job seekers say they would not reapply to a company that didn’t notify them of their application status, according to Lever. In this uncertain time, reaching out to inform candidates of their progress will be seen as a thoughtful gesture. The candidate will most likely remember this positive experience when they decide whether or not to accept the job.  On our platform, it only takes a few minutes to keep connected and send a message to your candidate pool. 

The coronavirus outbreak has changed how we work. More people now work remotely and connect online, therefore it’s also time for the recruitment process to adapt. There are many ways you can create a good online experience for candidates, from video interviews to regularly communicating with them. If you are interested in using the Cognisess platform for this, our team is working remotely and can give you a free demo of the platform.  

Ethical Hiring with AI: Can it spot a lying applicant?

an ethical job applicant

On paper, a candidate could be perfect for a role. They have relevant experience alongside their impressive list of qualifications. But is this candidate too good to be true? How do you know he’s telling the truth? Sometimes it’s difficult to know if you made the right hiring decision until the applicant has started in the role.   

How honest are candidates? 

A new report by Checkster titled Is Your Company Hiring Charlatans? A study of ethical standards in the hiring process has uncovered that candidates aren’t being completely honest when they apply for a job. Key findings include: 

  • 60% of candidates have claimed or are willing to claim that they have expertise in skills they have no knowledge in. 
  • 42% have lied about relevant experience.
  • Over 50% of applicants have said they worked at a company longer than they had, so they can omit an employer. 

With this in mind, how can you identify the candidates with the relevant skills and experience? In the past, you may have had to rely on your emotional intelligence to identify a lying candidate. But technology is making it easier to create an ethical hiring process.  

Stay ahead of the game

The games on our platform can measure over 120 attributes. The study has revealed that over half of candidates will lie about their abilities. However, this can be prevented by using scientifically-backed games in the application process. For instance, Adam may write in his cover letter that he is achievement-driven, but our assessments can reveal how achievement-driven he really is. You get to know a candidate before you meet them, allowing the most relevant candidates to demonstrate their skills and stand out from the less qualified. 

Using these games in the application process will also prevent candidates from actively reverse engineering their applications. For example, in our new Lens Pro assessment candidates have to choose between two equally viable options, instead of two answers where it’s obvious what the ‘correct one’ is. The process becomes about their true abilities, not the persona which they think will get them the job. This helps an employer really get to know an applicant and the true values they stand for. 

Find the right candidate for you

By creating a recruitment process that actively tests the applicants on the job’s key abilities will reveal how skilled they actually are. Our platform focuses on finding the right candidate by assessing how suitable they are for the role and company through our cognitive or personality games. 

To find out more about how we cater to job fit, book a demo with us today. 

Are self-disciplined people happier?

a self-disciplined woman

It is surprising to think that self-control could make you happier.

This groundbreaking 1998 research found that self-control is like a muscle. You can exercise this muscle by resisting that morning cup of coffee for another hour. But as the working day progresses your self-control ‘muscle’ gets tired, affecting your performance. Professionals have tried to combat this by beginning with the most challenging tasks in order to get the most out of their self-control abilities. Other high performers decrease the number of decisions they make in a day, Obama once told Vanity Fair that: 

“You’ll see I wear only grey or blue suits. I’m trying to pare down decisions. I don’t want to make decisions about what I’m eating or wearing. Because I have too many other decisions to make.” 

We’re entering an age where technology will decrease the number of decisions we make or make it easier. For instance,  AI will make processes and decision making a lot simpler by either performing our mundane tasks or advising what the best hiring decision is. Allowing us to apply self-control to the most important tasks. 

Happiness and self-discipline

This study found that self-disciplined people are happier. The research also revealed that participants who had higher self-control were better at choosing the best option when conflict arose than people with lower self-control. It’s not surprising that this ability would aid high achievers who regularly need to make the right decisions for a company. 

What do high performers have in common?

We identify and work with top performers from a variety of sectors. Although each sector has its unique attributes that ensure success there are a few traits which are universal. Our Chief Scientific Officer, Dr Boris Altemeyer, comments on this: 

“These studies are an excellent example of the assessments and consequent results that we see in graduates on Management Fast Tracks. The ability to suppress initial urges to ‘react’ and consciously prioritise and ‘ignore’ unhelpful distractions or ‘reactive urges’ is key to become highly proficient in many areas. The outstanding people we have had the great pleasure of assessing and working with tend to score high on the attribute of Response Inhibition. It will be interesting to see whether this allows them to maintain higher levels of emotional wellbeing over time as well – often critical in the roles that they are in, and generally beneficial for all of us to look after.”

Each individual has their own unique set of abilities. Within a team of people there is going to be varying levels of will power. A team can support each other in improving their self-control, for instance, only bringing in healthy snacks so no one is tempted by junk food. In general, we believe a strong team has a range of abilities. For example, an extroverted person is able to effectively engage with clients, whilst an introvert on the team can problem solve an issue they are having. 

Discover how self disciplined your teams are 

On our platform you can assess an employee’s Response Inhibition, allowing you to see if they are reaping the benefits of this attribute. However, you can save time by assessing your team as a whole with our Team Fit tool. 

Team Fit is designed to assess how well a team functions in relation to interpersonal chemistry (Social Cohesion) and diversity of thought (Cognitive Fit). The process is designed around a combination of standardised online assessment instruments and customised surveys for teams of up to 100 members. You can also view reports detailing descriptive feedback, key takeaways, general feedback and insights. Armed with this scientifically backed information, it will make managing a team slightly easier. Find out more about Team Fit here.  

There are many methods we can use to improve our self-control to optimise our day and the decisions we make. Teams may find it easier to support each other in improving this ability. Finding out what your team’s Response Inhibition or collective abilities are will allow you to optimise your decision making. Book a demo with us to try our Team Fit tool. 

How that bad hiring decision was made

hands shake on a bad hiring decision

Have you ever wondered how a bad hiring decision is made? Although we try to hire the most suitable candidate, sometimes bad hiring decisions are made. But this isn’t by coincidence, here are some factors that can influence a hiring decision. 

Was there bias at play? 

Humans unconsciously process 11 million pieces of information per second. In order to manage this mass of data, our brains have had to adapt by creating ‘shortcuts’ to help us make decisions. Without this, we would be paralysed into making no decisions or just random ones. This is cognitive bias.  Here are the 4 reasons why bias could influence a hiring decision.  

  • Too much information – Too many great applicants? Or maybe an applicant’s supporting statement is far too long.  If there is too much information humans are drawn to details that support their existing beliefs. For example, Harvard Business School discovered employers aren’t prejudiced against women because of their gender, but because they have the perception that men perform better in certain tasks.
  • Lack of information – In contrast, when there isn’t enough information our brain fills in the gaps. This includes filling in characteristics of a person or a group from prior history or stereotypes. 
  • The need to act fast – Did the position need to be filled quickly? When we need to make a decision quickly we tend to choose the option that is the least risky to avoid mistakes and preserve our status in a group.   
  • What should we remember? In a world packed with information, our brains need to decide which elements will prove useful in the future. Our minds have created a few methods to enhance storage space, for example, the brain prefers generalisations over specifics because they take up less space.

Learn more about bias here. 

Was the recruiter in a bad mood?

However hard we try to prevent it, our emotions are still a key influence when we make a decision. We know from research, as well as from experience, that it is generally a bad idea to make promises when in a good mood and major decisions when in a bad mood. It is harder to rationalise when we are experiencing negative emotions. The brain is focused on how angry or sad we are instead of the decision at hand.

What time of day was it?

Humans have natural energy highs and lows throughout the day which can impact the decisions they make. This study found that judges would give harsher sentences before their lunch break and were more favourable after, despite the cases being similar. Depending on the time of day a recruiter could make the wrong hiring decision because their energy is low. 

There were too many factors at play 

According to this study, we can only take 7 elements into consideration at once. It might be challenging to make the best decision if there is more than 7 equally qualified candidates for a job, or more than 7 important personal qualities detailed in the personal specification. 

However there is a way to ensure that you make the best decision, regardless of how many factors are at play. A platform like Cognisess Pro is able to consider up to 120 attributes in relation to a candidate’s suitability for a role. This is a lot more information than a human can process. The platform then can present it’s findings in a condensed way to aid HR’s decision making.  

Harness the power of technology

We can’t control the world around us. Sometimes our environment will influence our decisions and other times it could be our unconscious bias, an inherent part of being human. Although we can’t prevent these factors we can ensure they don’t allow you to make a bad hiring decision. Technology is free from human qualities like unconscious bias and energy levels, therefore it can be used as a tool to help us navigate a tricky hiring decision. 

Book a demo with us today if you would like to discuss how Cognisess Pro can help you hire the right person every time.