Bias is your greatest hiring weakness

There is no evidence that interviews can reliably predict future job success. The problem is you can only see the observable behaviours of a candidate. What makes the difference in the long-run are the candidate’s innate behaviours which can only be uncovered through time and skill. This is a core reason why job interviews are not good predictors of future job performance.

Confirmation bias is where you make snap decisions based on perceived truths and then spend the rest of the time, subconsciously or not, trying to justify your bias. You may ask irrelevant questions, trying to find answers that support your initial assumptions. You want to believe you are right about your instincts. In fact, 60% of interviewers will make a decision about a candidate’s suitability within 15 minutes of meeting them. The obvious danger here is that you could be passing over great hires for no real reason at all.

The halo effect is where you let one factor (e.g. hobbies, sports, common friends) influence too deeply. You like people who are like yourself. You may notice this happening when you ask leading questions with positive bias, such as “And you probably achieved this on your own?” This is one reason why the interview should be conducted by more than one person at a time, and ideally peers who can be honest with each other.

Predictable Q&A formats mean you ask questions that candidates give rehearsed answers to. Candidates may appear to lack authenticity but in reality they are nervous and performing in a situation unlikely to be replicated in their actual job. This is not a useful way to uncover future innate behaviours.

Limited data and information is the largest disadvantage most hiring decisions have. Often work and personal references are taken at the end of the process, after they are useful. Also, cognitive testing, such as IQ testing and assessing working memory, are more reliable predictors of job success, but are rarely used.

We are only human. Ideally you need to like the person you are going to work with. There are ways to reduce these problems and still hire people you want to work with. Contact me.