The Recency and Primacy Effects in the Talent Acquisition Process

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Summary

Bias is continuing to plague firms in the recruitment and selection process. The elimination of any intentional bias has been the subject of much debate in both the public and private sectors. However, though much attention has been paid to the reduction and elimination of intentional bias in the talent acquisition process literature has been void of emphasis on unintentional bias. There are many examples of unintentional bias, but many talent acquisition professionals lack awareness of these unintentional biases. This article will discuss how some of these effects manifest themselves in the talent acquisition process and will present several remedies based on a mixture of scholarly evidence and professional experience.

Description

This article was originally published by the Journal of Corporate Recruiting Leadership.

To cite, use:

Shaheen, Joseph (2010) . The Recency and Primacy in the Talent Acquisition Process. Journal of Corporate Recruiting Leadership, Volume 5, Issue 3, pp. 13-15

Abstract

Bias is continuing to plague firms in the recruitment and selection process. The elimination of any intentional bias has been the subject of much debate in both the public and private sectors. However, though much attention has been paid to the reduction and elimination of intentional bias in the talent acquisition process literature has been void of emphasis on unintentional bias. There are many examples of unintentional bias, but many talent acquisition professionals lack awareness of these unintentional biases. This article will discuss how some of these effects manifest themselves in the talent acquisition process and will present several remedies based on a mixture of scholarly evidence and professional experience.

Two very important bias factors to consider are what scholars call “order bias” factors. They can occur when information about a candidate is presented in different sequences and orders. We have all experienced this form of bias in almost everything that we do. For example, what will you remember about this article, the first or last written statement? Does the structure of this article allow you to judge it differently based on what information is presented first and what information is presented last?

This is of course, assuming that the information/content presented is the same and that the only factor that changes is the order (sequence) that the information is presented in. We call those biases the recency and primacy bias effects and they are the subject of very little debate in industry.

The purpose of this article is to discuss those bias effects within the context of the interview process.

Keywords: recruiting, talent acquisition, bias, discrimination, recency, primacy, interview process.

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