Most Companies use a two stage hiring practice. First they evaluate each applicant with a test specifically designed to measure the Applicant’s suitability for a position in the company. While applicants often try to guess as to the answers the Company is looking for, new tests do a good job of hiding obvious questions with obvious answers. Applicants that have higher test scores usually do better in the job than Applicants with lower scores.
It is common for a company to take the higher ranking Applicants and have a Manager interview them to find the best of the bunch. They look for somebody who is bright, capable, personable and hard working. They want the best Employee, somebody who will shine.
When the process is complete they generally feel they were able to pick the best prospect. Unfortunately, a massive study shows otherwise.
If you or your hiring manager use personal discretion in evaluating new employment prospects, you are probably doing your Company a serious disservice.
The personal interview will give the Hiring Executive very little insight into the ability of the applicant to perform the job. What does tend to happen in these sessions, however, is the Manager, usually without knowing it, allows prejudice color the decision making process.
Managers tend to hire people who remind them of somebody who works hard and has been upwardly mobile in the Company, namely themselves. When a Manager finds the best fit, they are frequently finding the person most like themselves regardless of what the employment history says.
According to Mitchell Hoffman, of the University of Toronto Rotman School of Management, who co-authored a massive study with Lisa B. Kahn of Yale University School of Management and Danielle Li of Harvard Business School. Their conclusions included that "managers exercise discretion because they are biased or have poor judgment, not because they are better informed. This implies that firms in our setting can further improve match quality by limiting managerial discretion and placing more weight on the test."
All humans are vulnerable to basing decisions on emotions, incorrect beliefs and prejudice. The problem is difficult to overcome. Discretionary judgment must be clearly limited to include only verifiable differences among applicants that would directly affect their ability to work. They should avoid impressions or feelings because these tend to produce negative results.
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