As a manager, you are well aware that certain types of discrimination in hiring are illegal, such as discriminating against someone because of his or her race, gender, ethnic background, or religion.
But there are other more subtle types of discrimination that enter into the hiring process as well, based on biases that we all have, according to human resources specialist Kris Dunn. And even though these biases are not illegal, hiring managers need to be aware of them so that they don’t fall victim to them. They are just as pernicious as those deemed illegal because they lead to hiring decisions based on extraneous qualities not related to experience, ability or performance.
One bias that leads to job discrimination is toward physical attractiveness, Dunn says. Research has shown that the better looking a person is, the more people believe the individual also to have better skills and judgment. Men have this bias more than women, although it has been shown that women may penalize other women because of their attractiveness. This is probably the most prominent bias that is not covered under EEOC regulations.
Another bias people have is a bias against shorter people, Dunn says. Shorter people are discriminated against more often for jobs in sales and management. But also is gender bias at work here – men actually prefer women who are shorter.
Another significant bias is against people who are overweight – research has shown that obese men make about two percent less over the course of their lifetime than men who are not, and obese women make about six percent less over the course of their lifetime than women who are not.
But this bias also can be related to concerns about the person’s health and how that will affect job performance, Dunn says. So, it needs to be considered carefully. Studies have shown that the average medical cost for 100 obese employees is around $51,000, compared to $9,000 for 100 employees who are not obese.
The question to consider here is whether the ability and experience of the individual outweigh concerns about cost, according to Dunn.
Dunn also includes educational bias in this mix. This bias shows up when people want someone from a certain school without regard to skills or experience or past performance. Some also have a bias toward a certain school because of people at the company who graduated from the same school.
If you need help in finding great people for your San Francisco company, call upon the staffing and recruiting experts at Bayside Solutions. We’ve been helping Bay Area firms find skilled and reliable workers for temporary and direct-hire opportunities since 2001 and we look forward to helping your company. Contact us today!