“I want to work with really smart people and here is a list of schools that this person will have graduated from” said Lawrence, the CEO. “I do not want to interview anyone who has not come out of one of these schools”.

My gut reaction was to simply say, “no thanks” and exit the meeting. Afterall, this CEO was going to be difficult to work with. 

My response back was simply “Confirmation Bias” 

We favor information that confirms our world view and this helps us to reduce any cognitive discomfort that discounts our values and realities. As Entrepreneurs, we are more susceptible to this bias because we are so focused on the task at hand. This reduces our ability to objectively make decisions that are best for the business. 

Lawrence laughed, grabbed the sheet of paper and threw it in the trash. “Ok find me smart people”! 

The truth is the strongest people often surface in the most unexpected ways and your bias clouds your vision of the truth!

Our guest today: Bruce Marable, Co-founder & CEO of Employee Cycle, the all-in-one People Dashboard

Bruce is a Philly-based serial tech startup founder. When Bruce is not helping HR leaders better use data to make smarter workforce decisions, he is making music playlists on Spotify, taking self-care at the boxing gym, or hunting for the best bread pudding around town.   

Today we discuss:

  • Why Bias needs to be eliminated from your hiring process
  • How to deliver an unbiased, evidence based interview

Challenge today?

According to Wikipedia, Bias is defined as a disproportionate weight in favor of or against an idea or thing, usually in a way that is closed-minded, prejudicial, or unfair.

We all have bias. It is important to eliminate it for one simple reason… Your company’s success

Why is bias elimination important to the company?

  • More diverse companies succeed
  • More revenue
  • Higher productivity
  • Cannot properly market to diverse groups of people/customers
  • Totally different backgrounds bring different ideas 
  • More diverse individuals create more self awareness, well rounded thought process
  • Disabilities
  • Sexual orientation
  • Ethnicity
  • Ageism
  • Re entering workforce
  • Incarcerated
  • Parenting 

Rick’s Nuggets

  • Innate Biases

    • Overconfidence: Subjective confidence in ideas or decisions
    • Illusion of control: overestimate ability to control situation or outcome
    • Anchoring/Adjustment: past experience predicts plans for future
    • Confirmation: preexisting beliefs- devalue contradictory information 
      • Cognitive tunnel vision
    • Curse of Knowledge : experts assume similar content understanding in others
    • Optimism: See the positive outcomes… delusional optimism

How do we solve the bias issue?


  • Open to People who are different
  • Everyone is on equal footing
  • Allow people come in as being perceived as qualified
    • Vs. unqualified
    • Reinforce that they are qualified 
  • Eliminate your assumptions- college degree


  • Recruit from a diverse pool of job candidates
  • Remove all language in job descriptions that may have bias.
  • Standardize the interview questions.
  • Perform the same due diligence on all candidates whether that candidate is a referral or not
  • Give all candidates the same level of respect 
  • Blind the resume process
  • Remove bias from likability

Rick’s Nuggets

  • Customer experience mindset - applicants are your customers
  • More difficult to say No than yes
  • Conduct a qualifying call with most
  • Interview questions
    • Pre-determined and assigned to the individual interviewer according to the order in which they participate
    • Must gather evidence to support the decision either way
    • Feedback & closure

Key Takeaways:

  • Acknowledge confirmation bias.
  • Review the language in your job descriptions
  • Standardize your interview questions

Guest Contact:

LinkedIn  or Twitter  

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