In finding and evaluating talent for a potential recruit, face to face interviewing is ultimately the best way to efficiently assess potential new hires. Although it is ultimately the most effective element, getting quality outcomes from face to face interviews can often be undermined by biases and other misconceptions the interviewer may have. Here are a few of those unconscious biases and misconceptions and how these can be managed.
This one is the most easily recognised and understood bias as all of us tend to gravitate towards those who are similar to our own backgrounds and personality. In recruitment this can be positively assessing people who come from a similar industry, educational background or have the same common interests. This is how social bonds are formed and they can often lead to more cohesive group forming, however, this can be detrimental in a recruitment process as by favouring those with similar backgrounds and experience, a hiring manager might shut the door on those who come from outsider groups and different backgrounds.
The first way to re-mediate this as a potential bias are incorporating blind assessments, where CVs are removed of identifying markers such as schools, universities or prior places of employment to ensure that any candidates in the process are assessed on their skills, not just other less relevant factors. The second way is to incorporate more people into the decision-making process, particularly of differing backgrounds and organisational functions. HR stakeholders are ideal for this as they can approach recruitment as a counter weight to work against any familiarity bias the hiring manager may approach the recruitment process with.
The Dunning-Kruger Effect
In recruitment, this is one of the most dangerous cognitive biases that too often fools hiring managers. The Dunning-Kruger Effect is a tendency for some to overestimate their abilities, an unwillingness to accept their own short comings and to particularly present their skills to others as better than they are. People are naturally attracted to confidence and in situations where a hiring manager is looking for someone to solve their problems, they will often find this confidence in the part of the candidate assuring. This can lead to a major gap between what a candidate says they are capable of and what their abilities are that comes as a rude shock when they begin working.
Although this is a very tricky bias to see through in person managing how this bias is presented in a recruitment process relies on incorporating more measures to ensure opinions match reality. Detailed use of references, further testing and working interviews are all steps that can be used to ensure that a candidate’s confidence accurately matches their skills, rather than an overconfident candidate being hired leading to immediate disappointment.
Bias will always affect the recruitment process as human cognition consistently leads to it. The challenge for hiring managers is to understand how cognitive biases manifest and how they can be controlled.
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