Examining Your Interviewing Decisions

Selecting the right candidate for a position in your organization is an important, time-consuming task.  After all, you are looking at the candidate’s skills, knowledge, abilities and experience as well as company cultural/team fit.  Interviewing decisions are further complicated by factors that should not be a part of your rating process.  To be effective in your rating process, you need to be aware of common errors that many interviewers make.

  • First Impression Effect.  This error occurs when the candidate is evaluated during the first four minutes of the interview.  Such an evaluation is based on first impression data (smile, eye contact, handshake, etc.).  The first impression is then weighted too heavily and carries into the entire interview.
  • Contrast Effect.  This error occurs in comparing two or more candidates.  If an interviewer sees a very weak person first, the second candidate (who may be average) will be rated higher than average due to the contrast of the two candidates.
  • Blind-Spot Effect.  An interviewer may not see certain types of deficits because they are just like his/her own (i.e. An interviewer who is “big picture” may not appreciate a “detailed” person.
  • Halo Effect.  When the candidate is strong in one dimension, the interviewer views him/her as being strong in all dimensions of the interview.
  • High Potential Effect.  The interviewer judges the candidate’s credentials rather than his/her past performance, experience or other behaviors.
  • Dramatic Incident Effect.  The interviewer places too much emphasis on one specific behavior that may wipe out many years of good work from the candidate.

Source:  Successful Manager’s Handbook, by Personnel Decisions, Inc.