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Conformity Bias

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Conformity bias
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Conformity Bias

 

In the interviewing process, conformity bias refers to the tendency of individuals to want to act similarly (conform) to the other people on the hiring team. Conformity bias in hiring is often seen when candidates are interviewed via a panel. In many cases, individuals will set aside their opinions of a candidate to conform to reach a consensus with the rest of the group. 

 

Some incidents of conformity bias have one or more group members weakly protesting a hiring decision before they eventually conform. In more extreme cases, an individual group member may practice self-censorship when their opinions or ideas deviate from the perceived or overt group consensus. This results in illusions of unanimity, where silence is generally viewed as agreement. 

 

Example: 

 

In some cases, conformity bias in recruitment or hiring occurs when there is a time constraint. In this scenario, individuals may be willing to put aside or dismiss their own personal doubts or concerns about a candidate to allow the hiring process to move forward more quickly. 

 

For example, if a panel is interviewing several candidates and there is an urgent need to fill a position, group members may conform if a strong member of the hiring team or a person of authority has formed a positive opinion of a particular candidate. The other members of the team will often set aside their own doubts and preferences to conform with the group.

 

Related Terms

Authority Bias

is when the opinions or ideas offered by an individual in a position of authority or power are given more credence, even if those opinions aren't reflective of reality or the ideas aren't the best ones for the group.

Groupthink Bias

is a term first used in 1972 by a social research psychologist named Irving L. Janis. Groupthink is a cognitive bias that encourages individuals to crave conformity or harmony within a group.

Group Polarization

is the tendency for a group of people to shift toward decision-making that is more extreme than decisions that individual group members would make. Group polarization occurs because a group's collective involvement amplifies the individual group members' actions, opinions, and attitudes.

Availability Cascade Bias

refers to the self-reinforcing cycle that results when individuals adopt a new insight because other group members have adopted it.

Behavioral Confirmation Bias

is the tendency of people to actively seek, retain, and interpret information that aligns with their preconceived beliefs and notions.

Conformity Pressure Bias

is a term used interchangeably with conformity bias.

Social Proof Bias

implies trust in other team members, with the assumption that the majority knows best. Social proof bias occurs when group members make decisions based on the decisions made by others on the team.

Herd Mentality Bias

occurs when individuals have the inclination to be a part of a group, even when it means they have to neglect their individual opinions or feelings to adopt the actions and behaviors of the other team members.

Bandwagon Effect

is sometimes used to describe confirmation or conformity bias in action. With the bandwagon effect, people do something when they see other people doing the same thing. In many cases, this can override their own opinions or beliefs. When this happens in teams or hiring panels, it could be because the urge is strong to find consensus.

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