Qualifications – check!
Neat attire – check!
On time to the interview – check!
You may be practiced and polished for the interview but the interviewer may not be. One of the biggest stumbling blocks that lead to poor interviews is interview bias. This is when the interviewer let’s their bias make assumptions about you that may not be correct.
Unfortunately you may not even know this happening to you. So how do you deal with the possibility? The best way is to know what kind of bias can occur and learn how you can work your way around them during the interview.
First Impressions & Stereotypes:
Known as “Heuristic Bias”, this occurs when people’s decisions become heavily influenced by quick and often superficial evaluations. In 2002 a researcher by the name of Postuma, discovered that often these affects included attractiveness, race, gender, background and candidates attitude in the interview. If you think the interviewer will make assumptions about you, be sure to casually mention how you have met similar requirements in the past. Your aim is to show that you can do the job. Research has shown that interviewers get distracted by their bias in an interview. This can lead to an incomplete assessment of your suitability.
The “halo” effect is when an interviewer allows one strong point about the candidate to overlook or have an effect on everything else. This could be that a particular person has attended the same school as the interviewer. Everything the applicant says after this will be looked upon more favourably. The “horn” effect is the opposite of this – allowing one weakness to influence everything else the candidate says. For Halo/horn effect it is important that you stay positive in the interview. It may be of benefit to know a bit about the interviewer before time and if possible know their likes, dislikes and work history. The internet can be a great tool for fining this out.
Cultural Noise Bias:
This occurs when candidate’s answers questions based on what they think the interviewer wants to hear or will get them the job. For example the candidate may say they enjoy working part of a team because the interviewer has said teamwork is a requirement of the job. When you are in the interview be careful not to give obvious responses or responses the interviewer wants to hear. When responding to an interviewer questions make sure you use examples of past experience that relates to questions they are asking. This will show how you meet the criteria for the job without providing the obvious responses to the interviewer.
In reality interviewers should not let bias influence their decision, but it is hard to avoid this. The best way to deal with it is to leverage bias to your advantage and avoid negative ones. Plan for the interview ahead of time and practice your interview questions making sure any bias you take to your advantage and be aware of your actions. Good Luck!