Interview, biases and a wrong hire

stock-photo-young-girl-gives-her-cv-to-employers-241058464Amy was the perfect candidate. She reached the venue on time for her interview with a few copies of her updated resume. After having researched well about this new company and the interview panel, she was prepared and ready for her next career move.  She greeted the panel and her firm handshake reflected her confidence. She sat down when she was asked and did not forget anything to ensure that a strong first impression was built during the first seven seconds. Yes, in that little time that she had, she dotted all the i’s and crossed all the t’s.  

I am sure you have heard that first impressions are made in the initial 7 seconds of a conversation and that hiring decisions are made in the first 7 minutes of an interview. That 7 minute window is the gap between being a prospective employee and getting hired. Sounds too short but very critical 7 minutes in the life of an interviewee. 

What you don’t know is that during those 7 minutes of an interview, the mind plays a lot of tricks. Most of the interviewers are well aware of this fact but they still miss it. Any longer duration just increases the confidence in the first impression that has unknowingly formed. Too complicated? 

Let’s go back to Amy’s interview.

Her interviewers liked her instantly. Her introduction was crisp and to the point. Further questions about her previous roles and why she moved jobs so frequently, did not matter to the panel. Amy was focused and this career move meant better prospects. During the next thirty minutes or so, when she spoke of her experience, she had given a good background of the variety of projects she had handled. The interviewers had already made up their mind and they knew she will be a good talent for the company. 

You know that hiring decisions depend on interviews and how well a candidate tackles them. What you don’t know is that interviewers attribute the decision to just one context and set up. All this under the assumption that the person they interviewed will turn out to be great at work. As the context changes, the behavior of people changes and it is possible that Amy did not turn to be the right hire for the job. How people behave in an in interview is no indication of their behavior in future. It is possible that Amy turned out to be exact opposite of humble. This is fundamental attribution error

I am not saying that interviews aren’t important. They are after all a means to know people as they apply for positions and filter the right ones. However, as cognitive psychology tells us, there is much more than what meet the eye. First impressions could be biased and turn out to be absolutely wrong. Those 7 minutes could color our rational thoughts and we may end up with a hire that we later coach out. 

Confused? Don’t be. Amy is now planning her next career move. 

I am with Team #CrimsonRush and today is Day 2 of the #BarAThon.


12 Responses

  1. Vidya Sury says:

    Well described, Parul and very insight-fully written. Reminded me of that time when I had a bunch of a couple of hundred resumes to shortlist to 50, and then interview the candidates who were nothing like they projected themselves on their CV. Very interesting, human behavior. (And what were YOU worried about re: writing these posts? You’re a Champ!)
    Vidya Sury recently posted…How to make your own Happiness ToolkitMy Profile

  2. bellybytes says:

    All that glitters is not gold….I know someone who has a strong instinct about who will be a good hire and who won’t. Of course he also looks at the resume but sometimes he goes so far as to say that this person will never step into the office and the person met with an accident just at the door!!!!He had to be rushed to the hospital and never showed up for another interview. He too must have thought the company was bad luck.

  3. I’m going to be facing interviewers after completing my grad, and trust me, the way everyone talks about it being super scary is totally freaking me out! This post has given me invaluable tips, and I’m saving this post to read later too!

  4. Kala Ravi says:

    Wow Parul, I am super-impressed! I wish HR teams put in as much thought before hiring people with slick tongues and good presentation skills.

  5. To be frank, the 7 minute window does seem a little less but since I have interviewed scores of candidates myself, I realize that not every one has the time to give a candidate an hour. So yes, first impressions are very important. Do we really know a person after an interview ? Absolutely not. What a person behaves like afterwards is completely up for gamble. 🙂 Nice take on the prompt.
    Eloquent Mind recently posted…Don’t judge meMy Profile

  6. Vinodini says:

    Hahaha…I loved the end of this post. Amy’s now preparing for her next job! Job hopper that she was.

  7. Geets says:

    A lot of information on the interview, huh? Things sure are critical during 7 minutes and sure one isn’t the same or remains the same when those dreadful 7 minutes are over!

    Interesting take on the prompt!


  8. Ramya says:

    So true! Sonetimes, i wonder if they will be the same person that we hired when i see their work. These days, people who come for interviews mug up theoretical concepts and present them well. That’s why people who hire are looking for more options to analyze their practical skills and logical skills. Nice informative post ☺

  9. Sid says:

    Oh man! That’s a perfect HR post. In fact, I’m going to nickname you ‘HR’ 😀
    Sid recently posted…” Nila “My Profile

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