My Experience With Interviewing People And How Easily You Can Get Biased

in #interviews8 years ago

Only when you start interviewing people, you realize how easily your mind gets tricked. It’s normal that we are all naturally biased and even when you try really hard to be fair, your brain will trick you and you’ll still end up being biased. Now you probably think “Woah, that means that job interviews can never be objective”. Yes, unfortunately that’s the case. There is no way around certain types of bias because we are humans interacting with other humans, not machines.

The industry tried a lot of different tactics to make the interview process as streamlined as possible and don’t allow for human error. Still, people are getting hired based on cultural or other preferences. After I realized that this was the case I wanted to understand my decisions better and decided to dive into some of the common interview biases out there. By going through the list, I was able to identify my weak spots and this helped me to create a good process for any interview I am doing with a candidate.

Like Attracts like

In this scenario we like a person who has similar interests or a similar background to us. If the person went to the same university we feel that we have something in common and can relate to that person more easily. This is also very dangerous in an international working environment because some people might prefer certain cultural backgrounds or working with somebody who speaks the same native language. It’s oftentimes very hard to make sure all interviewers judge candidates the same way when there are so many international applicants. We all tend to like people who have the same nationality as we do.

Halo/horn effect

This oftentimes happens when a candidate gives you a very good answer or talks about a certain skill that you admire. After this positive experience, everything coming from that candidate seems to be great. Even if the candidates doesn’t do well for the rest of the interview, you’re still highly influenced by that overshadowing feeling from the beginning.

The same comes into effect when somebody makes a small mistake or tells you about something that you disagree with. You then tend to see things in a less positive light.

First impressions

We all know that first impressions are key and that we judge a person in the first 20 seconds. That’s not a surprise. The problem is that this means that you either like somebody or you don’t and that it will be hard to change your mind if you didn’t get a good vibe in the first few minutes of the conversation.

Nonverbal bias

This one is an interesting one but very important. A lot of people judge others based on their appearance or nonverbal behavior. You could easily judge somebody who constantly flings their hair to one side and say that this person is not qualified for the job. Which obviously is non sense because that doesn’t in any way relate to their skill set.

So what can you do to avoid bias through interviews?

• Do phone calls before bringing somebody in for a face to face interview
• Be conscious about your biases
• Do not listen to your first impression feeling
• Listen to other people who interviewed the same candidate
• Wait 30 mins before doing your candidate assessment
• Use the same questions for each candidate

Do you have any additional tips? What do you think people going for an interview can do to prepare in the best way?


Do you love football dear @inboundinken?
I invite you soccer contest by me : )

Good post. I've done phone interviews and they're great way to take away appearance from the equation, which removes some bias, so that's a good tip.

The problem is, you start to picture in your head how that person might look and you are, of course, always wrong... which is kind of a let down usually but it doesn't matter much - it's just kind of funny how that works.

100% accurate. I do a lot of interviewing and assessing candidates who are possible great matches into our company and culture. It is one of my greatest opportunities to practice non-judgment and to check my own biases and ego at the door. One of my biggest tips is to be as specific as possible when answering a question. Make the response clear without talking in circles. As always, be authentic, try not to answer to what you think they want to hear but respond in a way the feels true to you. I look for folks who are vulnerable, solution based, are actionable and goal oriented. Thanks for your insights. Your blog is one that I look forward to reading the most!

I remember when I was included on the panel of interviewers, it made me sick because once in a while I was one of these people who applied for a job and being in front of these interviewers is not easy, you wont yourself, your mind is running around your head thinking of what should i do to please them. Ahhhh

May i add?

Ive done so many interviews to candidates, im not even sure how many. Maybe thousands, maybe more....

In order not to become biast, you have to fully understand the subject of the interview you are doing, as in, you have to be fully aware of the job you are interviewng for

In order to prepare best for an interview you must fin dout as much as you can about a company and most importantly you must learn to tell your CV in a way that shows what you have achievd at each job you had, not just tell it over

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