Unconscious bias 101

Unconscious Bias: Frequently Asked Questions

Unconscious bias 101: Check out frequently asked questions…


Unconscious bias occurs when social stereotypes about particular people or groups impact a person’s judgement without them realising. All organisations and teams have unconscious assumptions about different social and identity groups, influenced by individual’s backgrounds, social environments and personal experiences.


1) What types of unconscious bias are there?



  • Halo Effect

    The Halo Effect happens when we acknowledge a prominent thing about an individual and let that ‘halo’ cloud our judgment of everything else about them.

    An instance of this is seeing a person who went to a respected university such as Oxford or Cambridge, or if someone has an honour like OBE, MBE etc. – As humans, we can let these accomplishments shape how we see other elements of a person.


  • Horns Effect

    The Horns Effect is the literal reverse of the Halo effect, and happens when a single ‘bad’ attribute disproportionately determines opinions of a person.

    An instance of this is judging someone based on their personal style or look. A person may believe they are careless and unsuitable for their company, even though suitability and work ethics are not linked to the clothes you wear.


  • Attribution Bias

    Attribution bias influences how we appraise individuals and their accomplishments. It can be especially prominent throughout the recruitment process.

    When evaluating themselves, people can often think of their accomplishments as a direct effect of their character and disposition; while shortcomings are usually the effect of outside circumstances. These external circumstances could be a person that negatively impacted them and restricted them from doing their best.

    When it comes to valuing future employees, employers regularly think the opposite is correct. It is more likely to see accomplishments of others coincidental and their shortcomings as a consequence of their character.


  • Confirmation Bias

    Confirmation bias is searching for, understanding, focusing or remembering experiences that support preconceived notions. Hiring managers need to be particularly vigilant about this particular bias.



Unconscious bias can affect recruitment


2) What is the difference between implicit bias and unconscious bias?


Unconscious bias relates to a preference that an individual is oblivious to, and that occurs outside of their power. Implicit bias relates to the same stereotypes, but focuses on the amount these biases are unconscious, as people are becoming more aware of these biases.



3) Why is this important?


Unconscious bias can transform offices and teams. It can create accidental discrimination that results in poor judgement and affect a team’s performance. These biases can also influence recruitment, affecting the potential employee negatively and a team if the wrong person is selected.



4) Are there any strategies to overcome or control unconscious bias?


  • Expand connections with the groups that you are not directly connected to.
  • Consider how you form your opinions of people. Are you being unconsciously bias?
  • Attend training courses
  • Be open-minded and question social norms



Unconscious bias can affect recruitment

5) How does unconscious bias occur in recruitment?


In the recruiting process, unconscious bias can occur when employers build an assumption about applicants based only on their initial impressions.

As well as this, they may favour an applicant over another based on personal preferences. An example of this can be when employers believe one interviewee would be more enjoyable in a social setting, rather than focusing on what the interviewee can offer to the business.



6) How does it affect the workplace?


Unconscious bias in workplaces can hinder diversity, hiring and retention initiatives, and unconsciously develop un unwanted company culture. Unconscious bias can influence who gets a job, career development, and more. All of the above automatically weaken a company’s culture.



7) Can unconscious bias impact on inclusion?


Yes. Biases in the professional world can create obstacles that restrict teams from accomplishing their joint goals efficiently. It can also impair the growth of inclusive connections that promote original and innovative thoughts.



Unconscious bias can affect recruitment

8) What is the aim of the training?


Unconscious bias training is intended to present their already existing biases to teams. Trainers will use means to change habitual thoughts, and sequentially reduce prejudicial practices. A significant element of relevant workshops is building a stronger awareness for types of biases that exist.


Have any more questions on unconscious bias in the workplace? Give us a call on 0208 133 6046 or fill out our contact form.


Send Your CV