HR Management: Week 5 XC

Student blog for MGMT 453- Human Resource Management

Understanding Implicit Bias in the Workplace

How Can Knowing Our Own Bias Help Us Be Better Professionals?

When considering implicit bias, people tend to choose one of two schools of thought; either they don’t believe that they have any bias against anyone, or they’re aware but maybe not sure what to do about it. What do you do about implicit bias? While society cannot undo its past wrongs, we as a whole can relearn how to think about others. That process starts with acknowledging that every single person has some type of implicit bias towards someone else. I recently took Harvard’s Implicit Association Test (or IAT for short) on my personal associations between career and family. My results were somewhat inconclusive, and stated, “Your data suggest little or no automatic association between Female and Male with Career and Family..” ( While I didn’t show measurable bias on this test, I don’t know if my results were to be the same in other categories. With that being said, I feel like it’s important to note that regardless of your specific results, the point is that you are made aware of your bias, which is the first step in dismantling it.

In an article from Scientific American, the authors suggest that individual results are not fortune tellers of predestined actions, nor do they predict behavior of any kind. Tests like the IAT merely bring to light the way our brain forms patterns and categories, some of which can be harmful if not counteracted (How to Think About Implicit Bias, 2018). In the workplace, IAT tests won’t tell an employer if a potential new hire will make racially insensitive comments, but may indicate how a company or department as a whole tends to think about people not in the cis, white (and usually male) majority.

That leads us to the second step of handling implicit bias. Once an individual has recognized that they do have bias towards certain groups of people, it’s important that they consider it when making decisions. For example, if a hiring manager is deciding between two resumes that have relatively equal credentials, will they pick they white sounding name over the more “ethnic” name because it sounds more “professional” or easy to pronounce? Or will a supervisor give a promotion to a male employee over his female coworker because she just back from maternity leave and is now less available than a young bachelor? Even in situations where one may not immediately tie race, gender, sexuality, etc. to a decision, the implicit association is frequently there.

For changes like these to happen in professional settings, it will require a baseline of integrity by employees and a supportive, proactive human resources team. Many cases of discrimination fly under the radar, going unnoticed and unaddressed until the dam finally breaks. Holding coworkers to high standards and creating a corporate culture of accountability and open mindsets are good places to start to being unlearning behaviors that have been going unchecked. There is a difference between calling our peers out, and calling them up to high standards. Though it may seem scary or hard to achieve, the only way to reduce implicit bias in the workplace to to acknowledge it and consciously work to avoid it.

If it were you, what would you do?


Payne, Keith. “How to Think about ‘Implicit Bias’.” Scientific American, Scientific American, 27 Mar. 2018,

HR Management: Week 5

Student Blog for MGMT 453- Human Resources Management

Now Hiring!

How the Quality of the Interview Process Impacts the Recruiter and Recruited

Does a company’s interview process make a difference in what types of people they hire?

If I asked you to describe to me what an interview looks like in 30 seconds, you would probably describe a scene of a man in a suit sitting at his desk asking a nervous younger man, “So why do you want to work here?”. While this method isn’t intrinsically wrong, research has shown that many companies are missing more important factors in potential employees by only using the traditional methods like skimming resumes, hosting interviews, and selecting a candidate. In the article, The Perfect Hire, the author argues that current interview techniques are neglecting industrial and organizational psychology on how to screen individuals for jobs, and suggests that personality and IQ tests would be appropriate for more in-depth knowledge on who the recruiters are hiring (The Perfect Hire, Chamorro-Premuzic). The article goes on to acknowledge that tests like IQ tests are rarely utilized in hiring processes due to inconvenience, but occasionally standardized tests like the SAT or GRE can also indicate IQ levels.

How does a company structure an effective interview process then? For starters, research suggests building the process of the principles of validity, reliability, and utility. For sit down interviews, this could mean creating a list of standardized questions that allows for the hiring manager to eliminate inconsistencies between interviewers, as well as minimizing any reactions other than neutral to keep the space fair and professional for all individuals being interviewed. Recruiters are also not limited in getting creative. The Perfect Hire includes games, video submissions, or other non-traditional ways of capturing a person’s qualities that are just as effective as their predecessors.

Regardless of the specific tools used, interviews in total are getting a makeover with the invention of recruiting software that collects data from applicants via social media usage or content, interview virtual simulations, and often more extensive screening process. As the interview process adapts, we can only assume that companies will adapt with it as different types of individuals enter careers they may have otherwise never been exposed to.

In my own experience….

I’ve had the opportunity to interview for multiple different types of jobs; for food service, basic childcare, and for a residential social work position. All three were different, naturally, but the hardest one for me interviewing for the social work position, because in addition to asking me the basic questions, they also gave me multiple very realistic situations and asked how I would handle them. This technique is similar to the gamification idea in The Perfect Hire, because they are put through simulations to see what their honest reactions would be. This seemed to have given my interviewers a more tangible look into how I could perform as a professional rather than just my experiences on paper or short responses. However, I exited the interview with a very murky idea of what the work entailed, which was a stumbling block in my choice of whether or not to accept the position. All three interviews had strengths and areas for improvement given their respected fields.

In reference to the core principles of reliability, utility, and validity, all three interviews accomplished what was most important, which was determining if I was qualified enough to be worth hiring. In my food service interview, I was asked many questions about how quickly I can think on my feet, if I was comfortable giving others tasks and upholding the quality of product produced. In my childcare interview, the recruiter was more focused on if I knew first-aid, was a safe driver, if I could act responsible and be a role model for children. Finally, in my social work job, I was asked many questions around my emotional capacity, how I would handle high-stress situations in a trauma informed way, and keep all the residents safe. All three successfully were able to gage what skills I needed for that specific role, even if I wasn’t proficient in others. However, if I had taken an IQ test before all three would that have changed their decision? In my own personal experience, a large portion of someones ability to succeed in their work is grasping the social connections and norms, and being aware of one’s interpersonal skills, things that an IQ test may not capture. But who knows?

How would you conduct an interview?


Chamorro-Premuzic, Tomas. The Perfect Hire. Scientific American Mind,

HR Management: Week 4

Student blog for MGMT 453- Human Resources Management

Instructions unclear… Why Job Descriptions Matter.

Why do job descriptions matter? And what are the consequences of not having accurate ones? The director of HR at Insperity says not keeping up-to-date job descriptions could result in negative employment claims and increased grievance reports.

While job descriptions seem trivial after the hiring process is over, they hold much more weight than they’re given credit for. Job descriptions empower future and current employees, as well as leadership teams to set clear expectations and measurable goals for individuals to accomplish. Job descriptions also give potential employees a sneak peak into the culture of the company. Is the work fast-paced? is there a strong emphasis on teamwork and collaboration or is it expected to work individually? The way that companies phrases the tasks and expectations of their staff offers insight into their values and structure, if they encourage quality over quantity, and how they expect their staff to interact with one another.

Here are a few examples of job descriptions that don’t make the cut:

But what IS customer service? It doesn’t say…

This job posting lacks a clear summary of what’s expected of this position, leaving potential hires unclear on what exactly they’re applying for.

I’m sorry, what?

This job posting is lengthy and difficult to read, possibly losing potential hires due to not being able to understand the actual duties of the job.

Aside from deterring potential employees, having inaccurate or outdated job descriptions can have legal implications, too. In an interview for SHRM’s HR magazine, Michael Kannisto states, “With the compliance environment and legal implications, the stakes are a lot higher for job descriptions to be crystal clear with essential responsibilities. If you have a measure of performance that doesn’t appear on the job description and you have a case brought against you, depending on the agency [involved], there could be punishment” . See the full article here,

So if we know what doesn’t work, was does?

Keeping job descriptions true to the positions they represent is a good way to start. Transparency is always beneficial in attracting employees and creates a culture of authenticity that will be transferred into the quality of work produced. In addition, HR departments should consider annually revising job descriptions to ensure they are still accurate, even asking current employees in those positions to give feedback on what the job truly entails. Bottom line, the description should match the job so that internally and externally, the company expectations for those roles are consistent and enforced.


O’Neill, H. (2017, July 6). 6 appalling job postings and what you can learn from them. MightyRecruiter. Retrieved October 22, 2021, from

Tyler, K. (2018, April 11). Job worth doing: Update descriptions. SHRM. Retrieved October 22, 2021, from