How to Reduce Bias in Performance Reviews

Whether you are using an interview to evaluate the potential fit of a person for a job or using an assessment to rate someone’s performance in their current job, it is important to ensure that all raters are aware of the common errors people make when evaluating people’s performance.

Types of Biases

Below, we provide some examples of performance rating errors or biases and provide some tips for how to prevent them.

Type of Bias Description
  • Focusing performance ratings on only the most recent examples.
  • Contrast
  • Rating the person's performance as higher or lower depending on how you rated other people.
  • Similar to me
  • Rating people higher because they remind you of yourself.
  • Halo
  • Allowing a positive event or image of the person to influence your ratings.
  • Horns
  • Allowing a negative event or image of the person to influence your ratings.
  • Strict or Lenient
  • Rating performance at the high or low end of the scale.
  • Central tendency
  • Providing performance ratings using the middle of the scale.
  • Tips for Overcomming Biases

    Here are some tips for how best to overcome common biases:

    • Record behavioural examples as they occur.
    • Consider your behaviour or the behaviour of the person you are rating over the last 12 months and look for patterns.
    • Use the provided rating scale.
    • Be sure to use or consider the full rating scale.
    • Check to make sure your ratings are based on what you have observed instead of what you feel or think.
    • Identify any biases you may have that may affect your ratings.

    Check out our Recruitment and Selection Toolkit and our Learning and Development Toolkit for more tips tools and templates.