Hiring teachers for your school is an important and sometimes difficult task. The process can be long and daunting when you have to look over qualifications, call references, and conduct criminal record checks. Oftentimes, with all of this on the hiring to-do list, the idea of inclusive hiring is left behind.
No matter how open-minded and accepting one might aim to be, the hiring process is fraught with bias. As HR professionals, we have a responsibility to think about our own biases when it comes to how we hire teachers and reflect on how we review and interview candidates.
Hiring the right candidate for your school is an important, yet challenging process. We want teachers who can fit into an established culture and produce learning results, all while being a good role model for students.
After all, who we hire has a direct impact on the growth, development, and results of our school and students. We want our school to have the best teachers possible, but also be full of diverse thoughts, opinions, ideas, and people.
As a hiring manager or recruiter, it may be easy to look at one’s qualifications (experience, references, education) and decide who may or may not be a good fit. However, you might not realize that biases are influencing the way that you review and hire applicants.
Explicit bias: These are intentional biases. We are in control and consciously aware of them.
Example: “I won’t hire people of a certain religion.”
Implicit bias: These are unintentional biases. They exist sub-consciously, and we are unaware of them.
Example: A hiring manager with a preference for hiring candidates of one race over another without realizing it.
Understanding implicit bias
To make the hiring process more inclusive, it’s important to recognize those subconscious biases and take action. Implicit biases are learned stereotypes that you develop over time from the world we live in. There are many different varieties of implicit bias. These include:
- First Impressions Bias: This occurs when an interviewer makes a snap judgment about a candidate within seconds of meeting them.
- Affinity Bias: This is the tendency to want to work with someone we like, someone who is like us culturally, and someone who we can socialize with.
- Stereotype Bias: This occurs when the interviewer assumes a candidate has specific traits because they are a member of a certain group.
- Contrast Bias: This is the tendency to compare candidates to one other candidate.
- Gender Bias: This happens when there is an influence of gender on the assessment of candidates.
- Race Bias: This is the tendency to treat non-white candidates differently in interviews and assess them as less competent when the same qualifications are presented by white candidates.
- Halo Effect/Horn Effect: This can happen when you overly focus on one detail of a candidate’s background – college, hometown, work history, personal background, etc. The Halo Effect is when you focus on one positive detail while the Horn Effect is when you focus on one negative detail.
Understanding your own implicit biases is essential during your day-to-day life because recognizing a problem is the first step to being able to solve it. Bias recognition during the teacher hiring process is also incredibly important because you want to hire the best people for the job, no matter what. Next – learn how to reduce and hopefully remove bias in your school’s hiring process!