Managers who went to prestigious schools admit they prefer to hire candidates with a similar education to theirs – even though they admit those jobseekers aren’t always top performers.
A survey by jobs website Indeed
found that among managers who identified as only hiring candidates from top institutions, 86 percent went to a top school themselves.
And just 27 percent of all managers believed experience was more important than a top degree.
Paul Wolfe, senior vice president of HR at Indeed, says it’s a “worrisome trend” that a manager’s background has such an impact on hiring.
“This type of bias can prevent companies from finding the diverse talent needed for their organizations to grow and thrive.”
Asked about actual workplace performance, only 17 percent of managers said they associate top performers with a degree from a top institution.
Overwhelmingly, they ranked other attributes, like strategic thinking and working well with other, much higher than a prestigious degree.
“The fact that managers don’t feel that top performers come from top schools shows that we need to pay more attention to hiring practices,” Wolfe says.
“It is often an unconscious bias that leads managers to hire people with similar backgrounds, but that means many talented and qualified candidates are being overlooked.”
He suggests HR professionals should work to understand their own unconscious biases, and to ensure their hiring processes value diversity and inclusion, as well as real-life experience and commonsense – things that can’t be taught.
“[They should] focus on what the candidate needs to do to be successful.”
That learning should also extend to the wider workforce, he says.
"We need to make sure we are educating and training our hiring workforce on interview techniques and unconscious bias.
“There is bias when it comes to much more than education, so this type of training is really important in order to have a diverse workforce.
“Diversity is gender, race, ethnicity, religion, but it is also experience, which leads to diversity of thoughts."
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