It’s 2:30 PM in a small office within a larger office building. Sharon has arrived for her interview with GPX software. She is greeted by Kathryn and Rick who will be interviewing her for the next couple of hours. The conversation is focused 100% on Sharon, her work experience, her successes and failures, and her personal outlook on the future. Then, she is permitted to ask a few questions about the firm, which she does. All parties leave the interview feeling like they accomplished something, and Sharon is to expect a call within the next few days to determine what next steps would be should she be selected for the position.
The above scenario sounds standard right? There is a big missing piece to the interview story above. Read it again. Did you see it this time? It’s the fact that GPX software is not interviewing Sharon at all; Kathryn and Rick are. Kathryn and Rick are not the company; they are human beings with their own stories, parents, siblings, friends, families, and successes and failures. Sharon is being interviewed through the personal bias of Kathryn and Rick, like it or not.
Bias is defined as: Prejudice in favor of or against one thing, person, or group compared with another, usually in a way considered to be unfair. This is a part of all of us. It cannot be separated from who we are, as we have built it up over the course of our lives. It is a byproduct of the thin-slicing that we do to make sense of the world and operate in it efficiently. Bias comes from our family, our neighborhood growing up, our school, and our successes and failures. It is meant to keep us safe from potential threats in our environment.
Sharon, in this case, is not a threat in Kathryn or Rick’s environment. Or is she? Did Sharon work with or know a former colleague of Kathryn? Did she attend a rival college of Rick’s and achieve more material success than he? Is Sharon the daughter of Kathryn’s favorite teacher and mentor from college? These and many other bias’ are a major factor in the interview process, and in the social circles within a workplace. Regardless of your intelligence and experience, bias is tattooed in each of us.
How can we objectively measure and judge someone else with this type of handicap for the job?
The answer rests in proven, reliable, and valid data that is tested against these biases. A tool that can dive deeper into the invisible drives, motivations, and sources of confidence for each individual. Each of us is motivated to move toward activities, relationships, communities, and endeavors that feed our self-confidence. This can be accurately measured in minutes via proven behavioral assessment tools. The purpose of these assessments is NOT to stereotype people and let us know what they cannot do. Quite the contrary. Behavioral assessments provide us the insight to ask more relevant questions, free from our own bias. They provide us deep insight into the invisible drives that motivate us to do what we do everyday. Ultimately, when applied appropriately, they provide each of us an opportunity to do what we do best, they way we are hardwired to want to do it.
How does that sound? The next time you line up an interview, see if the company cares enough about avoiding personal bias in the hiring process by offering a behavioral assessment. If they do, pay attention to the relevance of the questions you are asked during the interview. Odds are you will walk away feeling like the process was warm and respectful of who you actually are, rather than an uncomfortable grill session or a soft chat that doesn’t bear any relevance to the job.
If you are currently using behavioral assessments to remove bias in the hiring process THANK YOU. You are ahead of the curve and should be commended for adopting best practices in the hiring process. If you have not considered behavioral assessments in your hiring process consider reaching out to me today for a complimentary assessment and professional feedback on the results.
Time to go; your job candidate, Sharon, has arrived at the front desk and she is ready for her interview.