All of us have biases. They influence how we view the world and make decisions. Hidden -- or “unconscious” -- bias during the hiring process can negatively affect candidates, employees and companies. Talent Acquisition Manager Celia Navarro talks about how Criteo fights back.
Do you ever find yourself feeling an unexplained attraction toward someone you’ve just met?
For me, it’s an Italian accent. It’s probably linked to my time living in Italy years ago, but when I hear it, I have a sense of warmth and connection.
My feeling is an example of “affinity bias,” a tendency to connect with people who share similar interests or backgrounds. Like a lot of biases, affinity bias is quite natural. It’s how we’re wired as humans. And, we may not even be aware of it. It’s an “unconscious bias.”
While not all biases are necessarily bad, when it comes to recruiting, unconscious bias can play an unwelcome role in our thinking and decisions. Consider how affinity bias can lead to unfair hiring decisions.
Criteo’s values, Open, Together and Impactful, underscore the importance we place on diversity in our thinking and in our culture. Yet, how diverse can we be if we only hire people who look like us, who act like us, who think like us? If we always look for graduates of the same highly-reputed schools for our engineers? If we’re favoring male candidates with more experience or self-assurance for openings in technical fields in which women are underrepresented? If we’re reluctant to consider hiring someone older than ourselves?
Houston, we have a problem…
To overcome unconscious bias, we first have to be aware of it. Within the Talent Acquisition team, self-recognizing our biases is part of our training.
We also talk about it regularly within Criteo and call out positive examples of living up to our values with rewards and recognition. Our emphasis is less about how a candidate would “fit” with our culture and more about what they’ll “add” to it.
There are formal actions too, like using an app called Textio to help us detect whether the job posting we’re writing is inclusive. We also make sure that our interviewers are diverse and have expanded our recruiting targets to include schools with more diverse student populations.
But a culture of inclusion isn’t created just through a company’s processes. It has to be something that’s shared and lived by everyone. Every day and in everything we do, big and small.
For Criteos, our common commitment to a diverse and inclusive workplace is most visible in our Criteo Cares Communities. They help make us more aware of how we differ in who we are and how we think and to appreciate how those differences help us grow.
And, what can the job seeker do about unconscious bias? One thing is obviously to check out what a company says about its commitment to diversity and inclusion. Of course, talking about D&I isn’t the same as living it but it’s at least a sign that the company is aware of and prioritizes it.
Most importantly: don’t rule yourself out from being considered for a job. Apply for what you’d love to do, not for where you think you’ll fit. Believe in what you’re bringing to the party, speak from your heart and reach for your dreams.