This is the second in our series, Six Sins in the Hiring Interview.
- Missing important (and obvious) clues during the interview
- Head trash, the distraction of the stereotype in the back of your head
- The fatal decision in the first three minutes of the interview
- Losing control, losing your head, losing your wallet
- Asking the wrong (stupid) interview questions
- Getting beat in the paint
This series is a prelude to our Hiring Talent Summer Camp.
Head Trash, the Distraction of Stereotypes
In my day, it was long hair, today, it’s more likely the tattoo. There it is, creeping out of the shirt collar. As the interviewer, you have an immediate and visceral reaction.
You are not supposed to allow yourself to be influenced by stereotypes, but there it is. And it doesn’t have to be a tattoo. It could be short, chubby, slick, smirky, tall, thin, fat, slouch, prim or a hundred other non-verbal details that trigger something in the mind of the interviewer. And there is no magic pill to make that head trash go away. It’s still there, rattling around in the back of your head.
I could hypnotize you so you don’t pay attention to it. But that only works in Vegas stage shows.
We can’t help ourselves. We are wired to use these triggers. In cave man days, it was very useful for survival, to be able to look at someone and, in an instant, make a decision about danger or attraction. But this is an interview. How do you make a hiring decision in the midst of this head trash?
You cannot stop these triggers, but you can collect another 180 data points about the candidate. It’s not about the tattoo, it’s about the work. What’s the Level of Work? How is the work organized? What problems have to be solved? What decisions have to be made? If you have sixty written questions and you ask two drill-down question for every written question, you will come away with 180 pieces of data, about the candidate related to the work. And that’s how you balance the stereotypes in your head.
Our Hiring Talent Summer Camp begins next Monday, June 18, 2012. It’s online, so, if you have a secret tattoo, we will never know.