A firm handshake, a pleasant smile, direct eye contact, a handwritten ‘thank you’ note.
These are all superficial gestures that companies use – either consciously or unconsciously – to evaluate job candidates. (Maybe not so much the firm handshake since COVID-19 hit)
The problem is that these gestures have little to no bearing on how well a candidate will perform a specific job. It’s when companies place too much weight on these criteria that they fall into one of the most common pitfalls we see in the hiring process.
That is, companies too often allow their unconscious biases to cloud their judgment on new hires, and it typically leads to suboptimal outcomes or indecision. It also creates a company culture that lacks diversity of thought.
So how do companies avoid this tendency?
Define The Requisite Skills For A Role
The less specific a job description, the higher the likelihood for subjective criteria to enter the evaluation process.
Companies must be clear on the responsibilities and success factors for a role. Paint a picture of what an ideal candidate possesses in terms of aptitude and competencies. Understand what is essential for the job, and downplay the rest.
In terms of in-person or virtual interviews, recognize that not everyone is qualified to make a psychological assessment based on a candidate’s body language or other idiosyncrasies. Snap judgments based on 30-minute conversations can be off-base.
This is where a savvy and informed recruiter can assist. We can provide context on why a candidate didn’t send a ‘thank you’ note, for example. Or we can let companies know that a candidate always speaks in a monotone voice, so it’s not indicative of their interest level. Put simply, we can dig deeper.
By collecting enough data and understanding which information is most valuable and which information is most prone to subjectivity, you’ll hire the best person for the job (and not simply the person you like the most) more often than not.
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