Interview, biases and a wrong hire
Amy 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.