5 new recruitment biases we don’t talk about so much

by Aug 15, 2023

New recruitment biases we don’t talk about

It seems like new recruitment biases are flagged up in the hiring process on a regular basis. They are not really new but we haven’t considered them as biases until recently.


According to research from 3Plus in 2020, only 50% of recruiters admitted to receiving unconscious bias awareness training. We generously counted those claiming to be self-taught in that category. With what I am seeing posted online I am not sure if that was necessarily a good decision, but 20/20 hindsight is a wonderful thing.

Here are some newer manifestations of unconscious bias. They are not exactly new but we haven’t talked about them as being biases before.

1. Pronoun Bias

It seems like there is a new bias has sneaked into the hiring process.  Thanks to Katrina Kibben Job Post Writing Expert for flagging this up.

new recruitment biases we don't talk about so much


2. Thank you letter bias

Many recruiters openly post on social media


New recruitment biases we don't talk about so much


3. Green Circle Bias

I would have thought this would have been laid to rest in the job search myth cemetery, long ago.  But clearly not. Green circle bias is unemployment bias, that is those who are out of work are of less value as candidates than those who are employed.

4. Unpaid work

This can come in the fields of hobbies or unpaid caregiving activities or volunteer work. It can be any work carried outside the workplace where you can gain transferable skills.

Women are expected to work usually without remuneration or recognition in many fields, especially around caregiving, whether for children, relatives with special needs or elderly family members.


Yet frequently in a hiring process, these skills are not factored into the decision-making process.

This is because of the gender hierarchy  – work men do is considered to be of greater value than the work carried out by men. Research suggests that when women enter male-dominated professions salaries tend to fall.

Hobbies are more nuanced. Hobbies can trigger what is known as affinity bias something that indicates you are similar to the person reading the CV and share the same interests and therefore values. The real question here is are the skills relevant to the role?

However, hobbies and personal interests can be a great place to showcase transferable skills which are outside your professional experience.

Volunteer work can also provide good opportunities for skill development. A person who works as a functional specialist may gain leadership skills running the PTA. Managing and motivating volunteers is also a skill on its own.

Learn how to identify your transferable skills

5. Note-taking bias

I have seen some recruiters and career coaches openly advocate for note-taking in interviews on the basis that the candidate shows the interviewer that they are highly engaged and therefore in a better light. This is a bias. Someone who doesn’t whip out a notepad may have an excellent memory.

My own bias is that it can interfere with building rapport in the interview process. For some it may, for others who are neuro-divergent it may be necessary.

An inclusive interview process should give candidates the opportunity to indicate if they need any accommodation.

How to mitigate bias in the recruitment process

It is a big mistake not to factor in skills required for the role but gained outside the workplace.

“If you have a brain you have a bias” and nowhere is this more apparent than in our hiring processes.

GET IN TOUCH today to create an inclusive hiring process.


Dorothy Dalton Administrator
Dorothy Dalton is CEO of 3Plus International. A specialist in diversity and bias conscious executive search, she supports organizations to achieve business success via gender balance, diversity and inclusion. She is CIPD qualified, and a certified coach and trainer including digital learning.
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