So, how do you prevent it from happening?
Well, being aware of the issue is a good start, and from there, it’s a case of structuring your interviews in a way that minimises your own personal, subconscious perceptions of people and the world around you.
Be Scientific in Your Approach
Being objective and scientific in your approach to an interviewer is the best way to evaluate a candidate, and by focusing on the actual answers they give to your questions, rather than how they presented the solutions, will provide you with a clear binary view of candidate performance.
While personality and social ability are also factors, they shouldn’t cloud the picture. If someone is offering up good, correct answers to the questions you’re asking, mark them down as having done so, without bias.
Ask the Same Questions to Every Candidate
When judging candidates, there needs to be a constant, against which to measure performance.
Having different questions for each person or conducting an informal interview style can leave too many questions unanswered about a candidate’s possible on-the-job potential.
Key competencies need to be evaluated during the interview, with much less weight being given to subjective opinion.
Conduct Phone Interviews First
By conducting initial interviews over the phone, you have almost no information about a person, other than their CV and the sound of their voice.
While some heuristics can still come into play using this method, it’s often much less pronounced, offering a more objective, balanced view of the person you’re talking to.
When you’re searching for appropriate candidates for client vacancies, the last thing you want to be doing is missing out on interested, qualified people because of subconscious triggers that are known to produce somewhat inaccurate interview results.
Employ even just one or two of the methods above, and you make your interview process much more effective in identifying the right people for the right jobs.