skip to content
  • Calendar
  • Maps

Search Advocate Research

The WSU Search Advocate Program and materials are adapted from the Oregon State University Search Advocate Program and Training. The research below helped inform WSU’s decision to adapt that program to WSU's needs. The research includes studies on the importance of these programs, as well as best practices for implementation and longevity.

These materials talk through how we form decisions, including some of the ways we might jump to conclusions or take shortcuts, sometimes unfairly. For example, the article 13 common hiring biases to watch out for: Harver, (2020, November 13), lists several types of natural cognitive thought patterns that might make decision-making unfair toward a candidate. A couple of examples:

  • "Affect heuristic" bias suggests that search committees may judge a candidate based on superficial factors that may not indicate their true qualifications for a position. They use the example that you may have an automatic dislike for somone called Pete if your ex-boyfriend is also named Pete.
  • Another type of thought pattern that can lead to an unfair bias includes the "halo anchor" bias - when something positive grabs our attention about a candidate and our judgment is clouded by the one positive factor. For example, we may identify with the school the person attended and then refuse to acknowledge other red flags because of the one positive piece.

We encourage you to read through these materials thoughtfully to see if there are any patterns of thinking you might be in the habit of using.

Search Advocate References

Affect heuristic. The Decision Lab, (n.d.).

13 common hiring biases to watch out for: Harver, (2020, November 13).

Anchoring bias. The Decision Lab, (n.d.).

Blindspot: Hidden biases of good people. BANTAM, (2016).

How to write more inclusive job descriptions: The Muse, (n.d.).

From science to practice: Seven principles for conducting employment. Appl. HRM Res, (2010).

If there's only one woman in your candidate pool, there's statistically no chance she'll be hired: Harvard Business Review, (2019, February 7).

Before starting a faculty search, take a good look at the search committee: Chronicle of Higher Education, (2020, July 23)

What is conformity bias and how does it affect recruitment: Applied, (n.d.).

Why women don't apply for jobs unless they're 100% qualified: Harvard Business Review, (2021, November 2).