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Definition

Unconscious Bias in the Workplace

Unconscious bias refers to when employees in a company are treated or approached differently due to bias held by their employers, interviewers, colleagues, or supervisors. These biases are often linked to underlying attitudes and stereotypes attributed to certain individuals or groups. These are predominantly rooted in the personal background, experience, or environment of the individual perpetuating bias.

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Scenario 1: Unconscious Bias in the Hiring Process

A company is in the process of hiring a new employee and is holding interviews. The first of the interviewees are of a different race and gender to the interviewer, with different personal interests. They are well qualified for the job with good references. The second interviewee is of the same race and gender as the interviewer. They share several common interests. However, the second interviewee has less experience in the role for which they are being considered. Despite the first candidate being more suited to the job, the second is chosen because the interviewer felt more personally connected to them. This is a clear example of unconscious bias. The interviewer has let their background impede their ability to choose the more qualified candidate.

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