As a talent acquisition manager, I was entrusted the task to scout for a good candidate for a senior managerial position. After scanning through all the CVs, I zeroed in two candidates whose experience stood out from others. On the day of the interview, I ended up carrying a book from a favourite author and one of the candidate ended up talking about his love for books and how reading shaped his mind. Our interaction lasted for an hour and I made up my mind that he was the right candidate for the job. But this optimism was short-lived once the candidate joined as an employee.
Going by the above example, as hiring managers we all fall in the trap of ‘halo’ effect. A few good qualities or hobbies tend to overpower the conversation or the interview. For someone looking for the right candidate, we all tend to get carried away. Blame the talent crunch.
With years of experience, we all learn lessons. Each candidate, each interview ends up enriching and helping us to look beyond a few good qualities. The challenge is - to look beyond the surface to spot the horns.
Mistakes & more
Making mistakes is a very human thing. But when it comes to ‘hiring mistakes’- it is the organization that pays the price. The ‘halo effect’ comes into play here. We tend to overlook pivotal qualities in a candidate and turn askance to qualities that will help us select the right candidate for the right job.
In short, they just go by Halo effect which might hide the horns. Our prime responsibility as an interviewer is to look at the reasons for the potential risk involved in hiring a candidate the basis of biased positive perception that we tend to make try avoiding that.
The best way to avoid such hiring blunders is to ensure that business leaders or stakeholders invest qualitative time in interviewing the candidate. The team hiring and the authority selecting need to be trained to battle the ‘halo effect’ tactfully.
What happens in a Halo effect?
We as an interviewer tend to get carried away with people who are like them in terms of certain responses they ought to receive
The mind is set in such a way that we always value the similarity and have a huge threat for the difference of opinion
How to avoid the Halo effect which might affect the hiring decision?
- Ensure we conduct multiple rounds of interview for any critical hiring which will avoid the cost of bad hire
- Always keep the evaluation rating discrete don't share the assessment rating of one panel with another
- Try to involve an independent stakeholder who will not be working with the candidate so this will give unbiased and independent evaluation rating.
- Always keep the screening and interviewing process extremely strict
- Don’t reveal your likes or dislikes during the interaction
- Let the candidate talk and make sure he/she sticks to the topic
- Avoid digressing to a topic that would end up making the interview a one-sided affair
Remember when the Halo effect plays its card as a hiring manager you end up picking the wrong candidate for the right job. Develop eye of a jeweler, who knows the difference between an American diamond over the real one.