Sunday, September 15, 2013

Is It Time To Bag the 90 Second First Impression?

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I wanted to do a follow up post to the one a few days ago regarding bias in interviewing.  If you haven't read it, I highly recommend you do -- particularly access the list of sources of bias. Is Bias Undermining Your Hiring? I probably could write an expanded post on each of the 10 bias points on the list, but I wanted to focus on the first listed: 

First impression Error
The interviewer makes snap judgments and lets his or her first impression (either positive or negative) cloud the entire interview. Example: Giving more credence to the fact that the candidate graduated from the interviewer's alma mater than to the applicant's knowledge, skills, or abilities is an example of the first-impression error.
As someone who has interviewed a lot of people, as well as coached many a candidate in a job search, I can't tell you the number of times I've emphasized the "90 second first impression". That phrase is something we've heard about and emphasized for many years. Case in point, check out this Wiki entry - How To Get People to Like You in 90 Seconds. These are the things I would tell anyone in "how to interview 101".
As interviewers it's such a catch 22. There are some valid elements of interviewing related to gut feel, vibe, sense of energy or read of a person. Yet, when I look at the top 10 bias list, I have to say, where I use to give significant weight to the first impression list, I have now tempered that "gut, vibe, read" element. Now I use additional tools in partnership with it.
I invite you to do the same. This is an additional appeal to my fellow HR / hiring managers colleagues to give a more serious review of the role of bias in your hiring practices.
Again, here is the list to the original post  Is Bias Undermining Your Hiring?, where you can access the list of 10 potential bias points. Developing the skills of accessing and hiring talent is such a need and important function in our organizations today.  Managing bias is an element of that skill development.
It's clear my answer to bagging the 90 second first impressions is a moderated yes for both the interviewee and the interviewer in these ways:
Interviewee: Obviously an initial impression is important, however, hopefully you have the experience and capabilities that will provide that good first impression to be true. Trying to fake out anyone is a waste of time for all involved and suggests a lack of integrity.
Interviewer: We have gut feel for a reason, but partner that with additional resources that can give your decision-making process the opportunity for it's greatest success. 
Need any help with hiring, selection or adding to your interviewing portfolio?  We have resources to share for EQ and behavioral interviewing along with scientifically validated  assessment tools. Contact me for a advisory conversation:

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