10 cognitive biases to know to become a good recruiter

Primauté, effet de halo, projection… Votre cerveau vous joue beaucoup de mauvais tours lorsque vous recevez des candidats en entretien d'embauche.

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Published on Nov 13, 2023 at 6:00 a.m.Updated Nov. 13, 2023 at 9:56 a.m.

We all have cognitive biases, and there are many of them (research lists no less than 200!). Cognitive bias is a shortcut that our brain takes to save time. Problem: it impairs our judgment and makes us make bad decisions. In recruitment, these biases are at the origin of discrimination and exclusionary behavior.

The good news is that we can reduce these biases, which vary depending on individuals and circumstances (pressure, fatigue, emotions, etc.). How ? By first knowing how to identify them and getting around them using a few tips. And the key is more inclusive recruitment and a more effective team. The proof by 10.

1- Recency

This bias can lead to preferring the last good candidate encountered, because your discussions are “fresher” in memory.

💡The tip: For each interview, use the same evaluation grid for all candidates. Cold reread grid to avoid any hasty decisions!

2- Simple exposure

This is when you have a proximity, even quite distant, with a candidate, whom you have already met before at a trade fair for example.

💡The tip: During the interview, bring someone with you who will not have previously met the same candidates as you. And let her express her feelings first.

3- Primacy

The candidate arrives late? It's because he's not serious… Trusting your first impression leads to hasty evaluations.

💡The tip: Put this first judgment on hold, take a step back and wait to have an overall view at the end of recruitment.

4- Projection

We all tend to favor individuals who think and reason like us, with whom we have things in common, hobbies, values, personality, training, etc.

💡 The tip: Ask yourself: are these common elements relevant to the position? To do this, use an interview grid in which you have indicated the priority criteria for the position.

5- Halo effect

This is when one characteristic of the candidate takes precedence over all others and induces a positive or negative judgment. You notice that he or she studied at the same school as you, he/she must be great. The interview is over!

💡The tip: To avoid getting trapped in this way, build an interview grid with objective criteria expected for the position, prioritizing them.

6- Framing

You have a precise idea, too precise, of the candidate you are looking for. As a result, your questions are leading and prevent the candidate from showing themselves in their true light.

💡The tip: Prepare your questions in advance and reread them several times to ensure that they do not suggest an answer to the candidate. Favor open questions, which do not require a simple yes or no answer.

7- Extraordinarity

Is speaking 8 languages ​​or having traveled around the world 3 times a really relevant criterion for an accounting position?

💡The tip: Always rely on the skills and soft skills that you have defined as necessary for the position and only evaluate these.

8- Naivety

Taking everything the candidate tells you as true and allowing yourself to be seduced by fine words is going on the wrong path.

💡The tip: Each skill advanced by the candidate must be illustrated by concrete achievements, examples, which you ideally verify afterwards (particularly with former employers). You can also carry out scenarios which more objectively assess the candidate's skills.

9- Entomologist bias

When emotions have no place in our choice. However, soft skills play a key role in the value of a candidate and must also be evaluated.

💡The tip: To assess soft skills, invite the candidate to put their experiences into perspective in terms of obstacles and benefits. The way you experience and talk about each event will give you clues.

10- Dunning-Kruger effect

The least competent will tend to overestimate their abilities. On the contrary, the most competent minimize theirs.

💡The tip: Give confidence to a candidate who you feel is uncomfortable or doesn't look you in the eye. Conversely, do not hesitate to question self-confident candidates about their achievements to best assess their skills.

To note

This column was written by an external contributor. HR Consultant UK does not pay him, nor did he pay to publish this text. The choice to publish it was therefore made solely on editorial criteria.


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