Wood Words

You’re Hired – Because You’re Just Like Me

Right or wrong, many interviewers rely on “gut instinct” – that immediate sense of whether or not a candidate will work out.

In some cases, this initial perception keeps interviewers from wasting valuable time on dead-end applicants; but in others, it may thwart successful hiring – and prevent talented candidates from getting the jobs they deserve.

We’re all human.  When we meet people for the first time, we often decide whether we like them within the first few minutes of meeting them – and new research shows that we’re biased toward candidates who remind us of ourselves.

That’s why, in the hiring process, it’s critical to guard against judging candidates based on limited information. To minimize the insidious impact of human nature, train interviewers to delay hiring decisions and always support their opinions with evidence.  These tips from Wood Personnel will help you reduce perception-driven hiring bias:

  • Educate interviewers about this bias. Interviewers may not even realize that they’re making snap decisions.  Teach them about perception-driven biases. Explain the hiring implications hasty, superficial judgments can have – and train interviewers to wait until all the evidence is in before making a decision.
  • Define the job in terms of success factors.  Instead of judging candidates based solely on experience, education or personality, develop an achievement-oriented job description that’s based on what success in the position looks like.  Take the primary tasks involved in performing the job, and develop questions that will help interviewers objectively determine if candidates can accomplish those tasks.
  • Require fact-based assessments.  Do your interviewers assess candidates using terms like “I feel,” “I think,” “It seems,” etc.?  If so, take the judgments that follow with a grain of salt.  Require interviewers to provide concrete evidence to back up their assessments; if they can’t, dismiss those perceptions.
  • Make hiring a team decision.  For all essential positions, require at least two staff members to interview candidates.  Once interviews are complete, gather for a debriefing.  Evaluate each candidate as a group – to minimize the potential perception-driven bias of any single interviewer.

Candidates’ interview styles vary greatly.  Some are naturally at ease and know how to “ace” an interview; others are more nervous and may need several minutes to settle into the process and feel comfortable.  For this reason, you must give interviewers the resources and training they need to avoid making a hiring decision within the first few minutes of interview.  By reserving judgment, making assessments based on facts (not opinions) and evaluating candidates as a team, you’ll hire better, every time.

When you don’t have the time or internal expertise to tackle hiring on your own, Wood Personnel is here to help.  Our professional team of Nashville recruiters is ready to find your next superstar. Contact Wood today.