“This is the one. I can feel it!”
You can’t wait to get the interview over with so you can hire her and get on with business. What’s the problem here? It’s that thief – bias – taking away the possibility that someone else is actually the better choice.
Here’s a dictionary definition of bias – prejudice in favor of or against one thing, person, or group compared with another, usually in a way considered to be unfair.
Now let’s take a look at the word insidious – proceeding in a gradual, subtle way, but with harmful effects.
No really, bias sways you into or out of making choices in unreasoned ways and it’s insidious. It’s working against you and your hiring team because you are all walking into interviews with expectations that encourage you to see things you want to see.
Recognize Your Biases
The first step is to intentionally bring to light that you are biased and then you can do something about it. Know that you do have unconscious expectations and they are influencing your thinking and actions. Once you recognize this, you can glide over that hurdle, see clearly, and make good choices about your next steps.
A quick interview prep micro-process for doing just that:
- Ask yourself and your hiring team – Do I have expectations about how this person will interview?
- Tell yourself and your hiring team – I will be open to seeing new things about this person.
- Get centered in what you are really looking for: a match for your culture, the skills you need, the personality traits you want.
- Ask yourself and your team – What do those things look like when they walk in the door?
Now you are ready. Stay rooted in what you want and then watch for behavior that is consistent or counter to that as you go through the interview.
This is a practice for shining a light on bias in your hiring team. What counters the insidious nature of bias is to always be aware that you have some bias or another, then refocus on what you really want, and assessing if the candidate actually has what you are looking for.
She is the one! Or, I really, really like this guy. Or, she’s too qualified. Or, he’s not social enough. What compounds this is the natural chat that happens after an initial interview. If one person really, really likes someone they become that candidates champion. Keeping your team oriented on what you care about and objectively assessing candidates will net you the best choice in the end.
Good Hiring Choices
A quick after interview micro-process to keep everyone centered on a good choice is:
- Ask why this candidate does or doesn’t fit the culture.
- Ask why this candidate does or doesn’t fit the skills you need?
- Ask why this candidate does or doesn’t fit the personality traits you want?
Get real solid facts about how their behavior is counter or consistent with what you need. “She looked to each of us and then followed up by asking if we got an answer to the question?” “He brought exactly what we were looking for and then checked in to find out how it could be better.”
This Peter Denning paper “Assertions and Assessments” will give you guidance to keep you grounded in what really matters to you and how to make these observations.
Don’t let your feelings or already-formed judgements sway you away from or toward a hasty choice about your next employee. The brief moment it takes to bring your biases into focus will make all the difference in the confidence you have in your final choice.
Miche Rayment is the Founder and CEO for The Hire Effect™. The Hire Effect’s clients learn about hiring so they have healthy growth. TheHireEffect.com