Even It Up!

Shifting the balance for jobseekers

Posts Tagged ‘groupthink

Foolproof recruiting: Challenger learnings

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Even It Up!  watched with interest Foolproof Equations for a Perfect Life on SBS last night.  It was while we were watching that we made the connection between hiring  and

[the] extent…our decision-making process [is] manipulated by how choices are presented.

…from SBS program blurb

It is our contention that in the recruiting process, no one really questions what and how hiring decisions are made.  What can seem like an objective, transparent process, may very well not be, particularly when we consider human thought processes:

1. Priming

Research has consistently shown that people make decisions and choices depending on their environment (and circumstances).  People can be susceptible to manipulation and may not even know it.

In one study on priming,  individuals were given a hot drink to hold by the research leader prior to the study, and others a cold one.  Each person was then asked to have a one-on-one conversation with a member of the research team they were introduced to (it was the same man in each conversation).

After the conversation, each person was asked a number of questions about the person they had met, including whether they would give him a job or not.  And this is where it get interesting.  Every person who held the hot drink consistently said they would hire him.  Every person who had held a cold drink said they would not.  
Apparently, the warmth makes one feel more kindly disposed toward another person, and the cold lessens these feelings.

So, the question becomes: what goes on before your job interview that could be influencing the decision about whether you are hired or not?  

2. Rationalisation

In another study, participants were dealt two cards at a time, each with similar faces and they had to choose the one they liked.  The participants were then handed the cards they didn’t choose, and asked to justify their choice!

Interestingly, most people in the study did not challenge the fact that they had received the wrong card.  Instead, they justified their choice! It seems, as humans, it is easier to go along with an incorrect choice (or decision) and then rationalise it. 

Which leads us to the next point which, when taken with rationalisation, makes us question the objectivity of job interviews.

3. Groupthink

People are easily persuaded when they are in a group… they just tend to “go along” with one person, even if they know the decision or choice is incorrect.  This is because – psychologically speaking – the cohesiveness of the group becomes much more important than individual opinions, and consensus, particularly of the dominant view is maintained at all costs.

4. Job interviews are not objective

A job interview in front of a panel is, in some ways, no different to the flawed thinking (or not) behind the Challenger explosion.  What if the best and brightest candidate was interviewed after the panel chair had a cold drink?  What if the panel chair had the balance of power, or was the dominant personality?   What if the panel chair makes a bad decision and rationalises it?  How can one person who doesn’t agree with the panel’s decision ensure their opinion is heard and acted upon?

Don’t for one minute be fooled into believing that job interviews are an objective process.

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Written by evenitup

December 29, 2008 at 3:24 pm