Relying on Snap Judgments Leads to Flawed Assumptions

They say first impressions are everything and trusting your gut can lead to honest decision-making.

But, when this practice extends to hiring, relying too heavily on snap judgments can lead to flawed assumptions on otherwise qualified candidates.

Even though Google has changed the way we find information, the tech company lacks diversity — and its hiring practices have long been questioned due to pervasive unconscious biases.

These hidden, reflexive processes can shape people’s worldview and profoundly affect whether workplaces are welcoming to different backgrounds and ideas.

At Google, men make up 83 percent of the tech giant’s engineers and 79 percent of its managers. Of its 36 executives and top-ranking managers, just three are women. Google now claims it’s making inroads to not only change the diversity of its workforce, but also how the company identifies talent.

Rather than solely pursuing top talent from big-name universities, the tech giant is instead focusing on what matters most: an applicant’s job skills and potential.

Here are five tips recruiters and hiring managers can adopt to following Google’s lead:

  1. Bring your biases to the table: Controlling your biases comes down to recognizing you have them. Before screening a candidate, either in person or by phone, try not to initially pass judgment on something you previously heard or saw about them.
  2. Screen candidates behind a curtain: Don’t simply bypass a phone interview for those you think are prime candidates. A phone interview forces the interviewer to focus on content rather than on any number of superficial factors that may be irrelevant to their actual performance.
  3. Let the candidate do the talking: It’s only natural to want to find out a lot of information about those we interview. But make sure to ask open-ended questions to allow the candidates to explain themselves more fully.
  4. Treat candidates as equals: Imagine you’re speaking to a consultant or colleague. This paradigm shift has the interviewer listening more, treating them as equals, and giving them the benefit of the doubt.
  5. Stick to the script: Studies have shown that structured interviews are the most effective and yield the greatest chances of success. Don’t go off script for some candidates who you find more engaging. By focusing on the same set of questions each time, you will easily be able to determine the top candidates.

Diverse workplace teams create environments for more free flow of ideas. Whether on Wall Street, Silicon Valley or elsewhere, it’s important that our own biases don’t get in the way of asking the right questions of candidates to determine whether they will be successful.

The success of any employee is about much more than where they earned their college degree. Interviews and assessments should instead focus on whether their behaviors, driving forces, job-related skills and acumen match the job.

Utilizing an assessment-based system like Talent Management Plus™ (TMP), which measures overall job fit, as well as the technical skills and competencies candidates possess, can be a huge help in finding top talent — in tech or otherwise.

Zach Colick serves as a Content Specialist with TTI Success Insights and specializes in a host of copywriting and marketing strategies that help strengthen the TTI SI brand. Colick has close to a decade’s worth of experience in journalism, editing and marketing, and has held multiple positions within those fields. @ZachColick