If you like someone when you first meet, you maximize their positives and minimize their negatives. If you don’t like someone, you maximize their weaknesses, and minimize their positives.
Now consider how many great candidates didn’t get the jobs they deserve because someone on the hiring team made a superficial judgment in the first minute, and then spent the rest of the interview seeking evidence to prove it.
In the last 30 years I’ve been involved in over 750 different separate hiring decisions. After the first 50 or so, I realized I had to personally intervene to prevent flawed hiring decisions based on emotions, perceptions, and biases. I did this for many reasons. The big two: I didn’t like doing searches over again and I didn’t like good people not getting the jobs they deserved for some dumb reason.
The solution to the problem started with everyone on the hiring team having a clear understanding of real job requirements. When an interviewer doesn’t know what it takes to be successful in the job, the person substitutes his or her own superficial, subjective, intuitive or biased criteria. For proof, consider managers that like to hire people who went to the “right” schools, have the “right” experience, are too brilliant for what’s required for success, and are just like them in how they look, talk, and act. For further proof, consider all of the people you’ve presented to your hiring managers, who possessed world-class talent, but didn’t pass through this filter.
Overcoming this defect in human nature starts by defining the job based on what the new hire needs to accomplish in order to be successful, rather than what the person must have in terms of skills, experience, looks, intelligence, background, and communication skills. For the past 20 years, I’ve been calling these achievement-oriented job descriptions performance profiles. A performance profile defines the actual work in terms of performance objectives, e.g., build a team of accountants, design a circuit, make quota in six months, etc. Most jobs have 5-6 tasks like this that represent the bulk of the job. The interviewer then needs to determine if the person can accomplish the tasks. If so, it’s then obvious the person has the appropriate amount of skills and experiences to successfully handle the work, regardless of how they seem in the first one to two minutes.
However preparing a performance profile is not enough to eliminate perceptions, biases, and emotions from affecting the decision. Here are some other things that can help increase objectivity:
Some Things You Can Do to Minimize Perception-driven Hiring Mistakes keep reading…