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Seven Common Interview Biases

by Michelle SpanoApril 28, 2016 8:00 AM

Would you choose a candidate solely based on the fact that they attended the same college as you? How about choosing a candidate based on how attractive they are? If this line of reasoning sounds absurd to you, then you’re right! However, you may unintentionally use that type of information to make a selection.  

Almost all business owners become an interviewer at some point in their careers. While the main goal of an interview is to evaluate the candidate, it’s also important to understand common interviewer biases. These are preconceived ideas and beliefs that we assign to candidates unknowingly and may ultimately sway our hiring decision.  

Image of a job interview. Learn about seven interview biases that can sway hiring decisions.

Seven Common Interview Biases That You Should Be Aware Of

Stereotyping Bias – Forming an opinion of someone based on gender, religion, race, appearance, or any other type of characteristic. 

First Impression Bias – Making judgements about an interviewee based on their first impression being positive or negative. 

“Similar to Me” Effect – Thinking highly of someone who has a similar mind set or personality to the interviewer.  

Negative Emphasis Bias – When the interviewer receives a small amount of negative information and uses it to base their entire hiring decision off of it. We tend to weigh negative information heavier than positive information.  

Halo and Horn Effect – The Halo Effect is when the interviewer lets one positive fact about the candidate overshadow everything else they say or do. The Horn Effect is the opposite and allows a weak fact to influence everything else. 

Cultural Noise – The interviewer’s ability to distinguish between a candidate’s socially acceptable answer rather than revealing their true opinion.

Contrast Effect – When a stronger candidate interviews after a weaker candidate, they may appear more qualified than they are because of the contrast between the two. 

These are just a few of the many biases we are subjected to while interviewing. Our recommendation to you is to ask open ended questions, take notes during interviews, ask each candidate the same questions, and be self-aware of the judgments you place into others.    

Hiring the right job candidate can be a tricky proposition. That’s why Group Management Services offers interview coaching and recruiting services to business owners. Contact us today to learn how we can help find the top talent and grow your team of dedicated staff.  

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