Research shows many of those involved in the hiring process are making a critical mistake when they meet with job candidates for the first time.
What is it? Relying too heavily on first impressions.
Chances are, some people in your organization are big believers in the sentiment: “There’s nothing like a good first impression.”
The problem is, a University of Toledo study found that first impressions may do more harm than good.
The study revealed that judgments of an applicant within the first 10 seconds of an interview can predict its outcome — and judgments that quick don’t lead to balanced assessments.
What can happen is interviewers can spend the rest of the interview looking for indicators that confirm their initial judgments about the applicant, as opposed to really assessing their abilities, the study found.
So essentially, interviewers may have their minds made up about a candidate before an interview has barely begun, thanks to a series of pre-formed biases.
A better approach
Thankfully, there are ways to fight back against this natural inclination to prove your first impression of someone is correct.
Laszlo Bock, Google’s senior vice president of people operations, shared how he fights back against quick judgments in the hiring process in an article he penned recently for Wired.
In the article, entitled “Here’s Google’s Secret to Hiring the Best People,” Bock said he includes people from these two groups in interviews:
- Subordinates. It’s common for candidates to meet with their potential boss, but why not also get the opinions of the people who will be working beneath them? After all, they’ve got to live with whoever you hire on a daily basis. Inviting one or two subordinates into the interview will help the company get an added, valuable perspective on the applicant.
- “Cross-functional” workers. These employees have nothing to do with the department you’re hiring for, but they’ll still be interested in hiring high-quality candidates. And the viewpoint of someone from a different department, who’ll be less focused on dissecting the candidate’s technical abilities, can be valuable.