Online business magazine Fast Company published an interesting article last month about how our initial judgments about another person is often a reflection of ourselves – and says very little about the person we’re judging.

As explained in the article, we form impressions of people the same way we form an impression of anything and because of our survival-based need to evaluate others quickly, we take information and ques from often irrelevant sources and mistakenly attribute them to a person.

So, for example, when you are recruiting for a new person to join your team, if they use a font in their resume that you dislike, you will form a judgement on that person, simply because of your typography preference – this is of course a completely reasonable assumption if the font is Comic Sans!

We are all aware of how our brains work to process information when we are overloaded with options – we simply make arbitrary decisions based on as little thought as possible. The problem with these snap judgements is that the person on the receiving end, often doesn’t realise this is what is happening.

Coming back to the recruitment analogy, what if you are reviewing a pile of resumes and one of the applicants enjoys mountain biking – probably not a relevant competency if you are recruiting for a financial controller but say for example, you enjoy mountain biking too, this may affect your judgement of the candidate. Great news for the mountain biking candidate but not so great for the other applicant who didn’t mention that they too enjoy epic mountain bike trails.

You could argue that these sorts of judgements are evened out by assessing applicants for actual competencies, especially during the interview process. Unfortunately, we tend to take these biases and assumptions with us – if we like someone (because of their enjoyment of mountain biking), our friendliness allows that person to open up with confidence during the interview process. And of course, the reverse is true, in that if we’re unsure about someone we act uneasy, which makes that person feel and act awkward.

We all like to think that we’re a good judge of character. And when it comes to hiring, there’s no doubt that you are the best judge, for who is the best fit, for your business. But sometimes our intuition is wrong. There is plenty of research out there that points to the fact that people who make great candidates don’t necessarily make good hires.

So, what can we do to avoid this from happening?

Next time you find yourself jumping to a judgement, ask yourself if it’s real, useful, logical (and kind). And open your mind, to let people surprise you. Or, if you are looking for direction and (un-biased) assistance on unearthing and retaining the right talent for your business, consider utilising the services of an external recruitment partner who will bring objectivity to the process.

Need help?

If you are looking for direction and assistance on unearthing and retaining the right talent for your business, get in touch with us. We’d love to chat.

The Decipher Team

To stay on top of current recruitment trends and technologies follow Decipher Group on LinkedIn.

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