SmartRecruiters Blog

How Hiring Managers Overcome Interview Bias

Bottom line — the selection and hiring process matters. Performance depends on it. After all, employees are your company’s single largest asset.  Your employee’s performance drives your business and keeps your stockholders or stake holders happy.  So how do we overcome the job interview bias when choosing most important asset, our people?
Job seeker interviews happen at your organization either as you are filling a job opening external or are considering promoting or transferring a candidate who is already an employee.

    • There is no such thing as a standard interview.  The interview process evaluates your candidate’s performance and culture fit most often during a face to face interview.  Hiring managers should work to try to avoid common review mis-steps including the halo effect (i.e. global evaluations of a person affect judgements of his or her specific traits).   With the halo effect, managers evaluate their interviewee based on their likeability, positive feelings the manager has about the individual and not the traits of their work performance.   In contrast, the horn effect is where an individual makes a judgment based on a single response or characteristic (i.e. believing a person is generally negative because one of their first comments was negative, “The traffic on the way in was atrocious”).
    • One-way conversations aren’t a conversation. Create Dialogue. A job interview is much like a first date.  Your candidate is learning about you the hiring manager and the organization as much as you are learning about them.  Sometimes hiring managers like to hear themselves talk and the conversation becomes one sided.  The hiring manager learns nothing about the job seeker which often leads to an incomplete candidate evaluation.
      Take the time to understand your potential employee, their goals, and their point of view about their own performance as well as the job specifics.  Talk with them and not at them.  Avoid illegal interview questions and avoid lame interview questions like, “Why is a manhole cover round?”  Interviewing is an art. Asking the right interview questions helps ensure you are hiring the best candidate for the job.  Don’t waste your time with anything else.
  • Structure creates comfort and predictability.  The job interview and candidate selection process for some is the single most stressful event or meeting for the job seeker.  A stressed employee  or job seeker makes for a nervous employee mainly because of the foreign nature of the actual interview and hiring process.  Companies are focused on making the process comfortable for them when it should be the exact opposite.  By creating a structure and a relaxed environment for the interview, a candidate feels safe, trusted, and engaged. They are likely to share unscripted answers to interview questions giving you, the hiring manager, more insights into the type of employee and person they really are.  Instead of the guarded, scripted, and suited professional they appear to be.

For the hiring manager or job seeker, interviews don’t have to be a scary and stressful activity.  They should be structured yet casual and provide an environment where the job seeker can comfortably share who they are.  Companies and their hiring managers conducting the interview should be equally open, providing a realistic job description, preview and depiction of exactly what the job responsibilities entails. Because top performers even in this market have options, and just like you, they want to make the best decision when choosing  working for an organization where they spend more time with than their own family.

Jessica Miller-Merrell, SPHR is a HR consultant, new media strategist, and author who writes at Blogging4Jobs. Jessica is the host of Job Search Secrets, an internet television show for job seekers. Phot0 Credit Interview Tips for Success

Jessica Miller-Merrell

Jessica Miller-Merrell, SPHR is a HR consultant, new media strategist, and author who writes at Blogging4Jobs. Jessica is the host of Job Search Secrets, an internet television show for job seekers.