A new survey of employment recruiters in the United States finds that 57% believe that implicit bias continues to be a real problem in their field, and 27% cited widespread “sexual harassment/sexist attitudes” expressed towards candidates by colleagues.
Perhaps just as shocking, 32% reported seeing “sexual harassment/sexist attitudes” from candidates as well. Racist attitudes expressed by candidates were observed by 25% and by colleagues toward candidates by 22% of recruiters.
When it comes to evaluating talent, men and women differ in significant ways. Men are more visual while women more often judge on credentials, according to the nationwide survey conducted by Zogby Analytics for the recruiting services firm Jobvite. Males tend to pay more attention to appearance, personal style and enthusiasm.
“Males are significantly more likely to look at candidates’ photos before meeting them, and they are also more likely to admit that seeing the photo influenced their decision to move on with a candidate or not,” the researchers observe. Male recruiters are also more likely to disqualify a candidate because their attire was judged to be too casual for an interview.
Female recruiters care more than male recruiters about a candidate’s college major and references, while male recruiters are more likely to be negatively influenced by selfies posted by the candidate on social media.
The survey found that the age of the recruiter can affect their judgement as well. “When it comes to judging candidates, there are some major differences between Millennial recruiters and their counterparts over 50 years old,” the researchers point out.
Millennial recruiters put more emphasis on conversation skills and enthusiasm, while older ones put much more weight on personal style and grooming when assessing whether someone is a cultural fit. Recruiters over 50 tend to emphasize knowledge of the industry and appearance, and are much more likely to disqualify a candidate for bringing a beverage or food to the interview or because they had bad hygiene.
You Said What?
In what is perhaps a comment on the changing cultural landscape, a surprisingly large number of recruiters are seeing more unacceptable behavior from candidates. “Recruiters have witnessed everything—the good, the bad and the downright strange,” the researchers note, including candidates who:
- Wore too casual attire to an interview (75%).
- Didn’t know what company they were interviewing for (54%).
- Engaged in sexual harassment or expressed sexist attitudes (32%).
- Hit on the recruiter or hiring manager (19%).
- Appearing intoxicated during an interview (24%).
- Crying in an interview (27%).
- Bringing a child to an interview (25%).
Even more disturbing, given today’s cultural environment, was the revelation by 32% of the recruiters surveyed that they have witnessed sexual harassment and sexist attitudes coming from job candidates, and 25% have heard racist attitudes expressed by candidates.
Negative attitudes regarding selfies on social media appear to be softening in recent years. Posting on social media also can be a positive for a candidate. That is particularly the case when it includes examples of written or design work; engagement in volunteering, mentoring or non-profits, and mutual connections.
For those recruiters worried about drug use, rest assured: 44% report that their candidates rarely (less than 25% of the time) fail a drug test, the researchers observe. However, 43% said they don’t screen their candidates for drugs at all.
Culture is important on both sides of the hiring equation, the survey finds, observing 13% of job seekers have turned down job offers because of company culture. For recruiters too, the most important hiring factors are: previous job experience (92%) first, followed by culture fit (83%) and then employee referral (51%).
“Today more than ever, recruiters are expected to be culture builders at their companies. They are the backbone of a successful, solid employer brand and the builders of a united culture,” the researchers conclude. An overwhelming majority of recruiters (80%) feel appreciated for their contributions to the company, including 37% who feel very appreciated.