Research has demonstrated that we tend to make generalized decisions about people after only a few seconds, and use the information we gather after that to confirm that first impression. But when you consider the type of information you have to work with before locking in that impression: a name, appearance, handshake etc. is it any wonder that we often make poor hiring decisions.
Here are a few resources from Organizational Psychology research that might be helpful as you think through your approach and try to limit biases and hire the best people.
- Validated Testing: Assessing talent is all about having a clear idea of the knowledge, skills, abilities and personality that you’re looking for, and then making sure to filter the signal from the noise to make the best decision possible. Generally speaking, the assessments that are the most predictive of performance are intelligence testing, work samples, structured interviews, of course, validated personality tests based on the Big Five personality traits.
- Structured Interviews: Having standard questions with defined criteria on which to evaluate answers allows you to focus on the things that are important and predict success on the job. Bias tends to creep in when we try to evaluate the whole person in unstructured ways, and we perform much better when we evaluate and score specific attributes and then bring everything together.
- Blinding: Similar to structured interviewing, blinding is a way to compartmentalize information in order to delay making a broader judgement on the individual before having all the details. As we mentioned in the meeting, revealing assessment scores before the interviews can lead to confirmation bias, so going into interviews blind can help maintain an unbiased view.
- Multi-Rater Feedback: Having multiple people doing separate evaluations of the same person will allow you to filter out some bias and get a richer read on the candidate. Again, making a final judgement on the individual as late as possible will allow you to share notes and compare candidates apples to apples.