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5 Most Common Interview Biases & How To Avoid Them | S1:E10

  • Episode 10
  • 'Inside Executive Search' Podcast

    Attracting, selecting, and retaining top talent is a challenge for many businesses. Join long-time executive search professional Scott Peterson, alongside Steve Yakesh, President of Direct Hire & Executive Leadership Search at one of the leading executive search firms, to discuss insights and techniques to assist companies to achieve their best results. If you’re an executive leader looking for advice on hiring the best talent for your company, you’ll want to hear this advice from these industry experts.

    Steve Yakesh | President, Direct Hire & Executive Leadership Search

    As President of Direct Hire & Executive Search, Steve Yakesh leads Versique’s award-winning permanent placement division with more than 20 years of experience. Additionally, he guides strategy for Versique’s twelve practice areas, including IT, HR, Finance & Accounting, Engineering & Operations, Sales, CPG, Digital Marketing, Executive Retained Search, Healthcare, Manufacturing, Family Owned and Demand Generation.

    Scott Peterson | Vice President, Executive Leadership Search

    Scott Peterson leads the Retained Executive Search division at Versique as the Senior Practice Director. In his role, Scott fills critically-important senior level positions such as CEO, CFO, CIO, COO. Scott has over 20 years of experience in executive recruiting. Additionally, Scott has also served on the Board of Directors the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire Foundation, Medina Golf and Country Club, as well as several youth sports organizations.

    Podcast Transcription

    Speaker_1: 00:01 Get ready for your weekly dose of talent strategies and tactics from industry leaders to help you attract, select and retain your top talent. You’re listening to Inside Executive Search with Steve Yakesh and Scott Peterson.
    Speaker_2: 00:29 Hello and welcome to the Inside Executive Search podcast. My name is Steve Yakesh and this show is for business owners, board members and executives exploring strategies and tactics to attract, select and retain the very best. If you’re not feeling 100% confident that you have that plan to recruit the very best, keep listening, this podcast will help you get there. That said, I’d like to welcome in Mr. Scott Peterson from Versique Search. Hi Scott. Good afternoon. Good to be here again this week, Steve. Good to see you. Hey, so this episode is going to be our last one on the selection category. It’s going to be about interview bias. We can’t tackle them all, but you’re going to walk us through what we think are probably the top five most common. and Perfect. So as a preview of those we have primary, order, subjective, self-imaging and the halo effect.
    Speaker_3: 01:30 Yeah, so it sounds very technical, but we’re going to break this down and go over what that means. We will go over how this is affecting your process of evaluating talent and picking that talent.
    Speaker_2: 01:39 Perfect. Well let’s just start tackling them one at a time. So let’s start with primary. What does that mean? Yeah, yeah. This is, you know, primary effect.
    Speaker_3: 01:50 What is all that about? It’s really picking the person, the candidate in the interview process that is freshness in your mind. Typically, the last one, the interview will be rated high by you as an individual.
    Speaker_2: 02:06 Unless they follow your guidance and they have a really good interview process and they group all the candidates together in a short amount of time, correct? That’s correct.
    Speaker_3: 02:16 If you can reduce that time between, you reduced the primary effect. You can also reduce a primary effect by using those tools we talked about in the assessment, so that you don’t get that bias in the last interview. You’re rating these candidates in and of themselves versus when they last one that I just saw or just spoke with.
    Speaker_2: 02:39 So, then what’s the different than when we talk about the order effect? Yeah. So order effect is more often than not people think that the first or last interview was the best even though the middle one was the most qualified and a better fit.
    Speaker_3: 02:45 Again, it’s a psychological barrier. Hey I’ve met this first one and I remember them because it was the first one in the interview process, so I was excited to meet this person and then again, the last person is primary effect, but it’s also order effect. So they kind of cross over there.
    Speaker_2: 03:11 But if you’re using some of the tools that we previewed earlier, so I should say in an earlier podcasts and you’re writing down your thoughts, your scoring on key categories throughout the interview process, that should help alleviate the order affect? Yeah, it should.
    Speaker_3: 03:29 Another way of thinking about that is do your assessment or evaluation of that candidate when you’re done, not at the end of the interviews of all of the candidates, because then you can really have an issue with the order they came in or the last person that’s freshest in your mind might get the better rating.
    Speaker_2: 03:45 Sounds good. All right. The third one is subjective and I’m interested area thoughts on this. Yes. You want to make interviews objective as possible, right? So, let’s eliminate or reduce the subjective weightings in your interview.
    Speaker_3: 03:54 Those are things that are simple as male versus female, color, height. What college did they do to? If they went to my college, they are clearly a much better candidate, right?
    Speaker_2: 04:07 Sure. The St John’s effect. Yes, in Minneapolis, the St. John’s effect. It could be really any of those things.
    Speaker_3: 04:17 How are they dressed. There’s nothing to do with the talent that you’re interviewing for the job, but you’re basing it on things that really don’t matter to the job, and so just be cognizant that those happen. Just natural biases. Again, if somebody came in from my college, I would clearly have them at a much higher level even before I talked to them, which is just natural. So, getting back to, again, doing your evaluations and your assessments and using those tools and techniques we talked about is critical.
    Speaker_2: 04:51 Yeah, absolutely I remember a story probably 10, 12 years ago, but me and a colleague were walking out after doing an intake, right before the intake I should say, and we were talking about the effect of, hey, so and so could have a kid in the same hockey program as another kid. Ultimately it turned out the guy that we placed that ultimately got the job, their kids were in the same hockey association. So, it was just kind of random, but I always remember that when I’m giving guidance to our clients on interview bias because it happens.
    Speaker_3: 05:29 some of those things can be a big plus. Right. And as long as you’re evaluating them right in the first place when they just happened to come from the same college as you, that could be a good thing, but not just because they came from the same college as you afford an example.
    Speaker_2: 05:42 Well and I think some of those things can be a big plus as long as you’re evaluating them right in the first place when they just happened to come from the same college as you, that could be a good thing, but not just because they came from the same college as you for an example.
    Speaker_3: 06:11 Yeah, and I think it is fair to say, some of those biases like same college or they’re easy to talk to because you have that common ground like hockey or whatever it might be, that does come into play from a personality because you want to work with people you enjoy talking to, but you can’t have that over the top skills and can they get the job done. That’s very fair. Got it so number four, self-imaging. Self-imaging hiring, what does it mean? Well, I like the people that think like me. That is hiring for someone that thinks like you and putting them much higher on the rating scale. The problem is you’re going to get everyone thinking like you that you hire, which is not what you’re looking for. You’re looking for a diverse work group, a diverse employee population. So really just try to avoid those things really, again, back to the evaluation tools, back to the assessment tools, and back to doing those right after the interviews are done so that you rate them in a proper mindset, no
    Speaker_2: 07:08 All right. The last one, the halo effect.
    Speaker_3: 07:11 Yeah, this one is for companies that are probably high profile in newspapers, those sorts of things and the reality is just because someone is very charismatic on TV, charismatic in newspaper articles, kind of well received that way doesn’t necessarily make them the right candidate for your company and your position. So again, don’t look at that stuff as a rating tool. You can look at that as they are really good public speakers, but it doesn’t mean they’re that right fit for your company.
    Speaker_2: 07:49 Sure. Well, and I think you see it too, and at least here in the local marketplace, I know the Minneapolis Saint Paul Business Journal, they have the CIO, the CFO of the year awards and some of the 40 under 40 awards, which are awesome. But just if they have that on their resume or they’ve received one of those, like you said, it doesn’t mean they can repeat that inside your company given what you need that role to do. Correct.
    Speaker_3: 08:15 Yeah, you still need to evaluate them on their individual talents and backgrounds and experiences. Perfect.
    Speaker_2: 08:21 Well, there’s a handful of other biases out there. If you’re a board member, executive, really tap into your HR leader, he or she probably has a lot of skills and or expertise in this category that maybe could help not only you but the entire interview team or at least challenge the ratings at the different interviews give back is to make sure that these biases don’t leak too heavy into the process.
    Speaker_3: 08:51 Yeah, one idea again, reach out to your HR leader do a little bit of training on your interview team, right. Help them understand what these biases are all about. Help them do their evaluations properly. So, a little bit of training because people are not professional interviewers, typically insides organizations. They don’t do it every day for their job, so do some of these tips and tricks and tactics are really important for the interview team. Perfect.
    Speaker_2: 09:24 Well, that wraps up this episode and wraps up the specific episodes on selection. So next week we are going to be transitioning into retention strategies and tactics and we’ll do a quick recap of the selection episodes as well, so that’ll be kind of our transitional episode, but we’ll have another, probably four or five, maybe even six podcasts specifically around retention. Maybe guests speaker.
    Speaker_3: 09:57 Yes, we’re going to float out a guest speaker for your guys.
    Speaker_2: 10:03 We are in heavy negotiation with our Executive Producer, Taylor, if we can add in a special guest.
    Speaker_3: 10:08 Yeah, we think at this point of going though attraction and now selection those are super important components of retention, right? It starts with the great process, so we think brining in some outside expertise and frankly let’s get some new talent on the podcast here. I think it’ll be really interesting for the listeners to say, you know that they’ve heard for five weeks on attraction and five weeks on retention, and now we are going into retention, but five weeks on attraction and selection is very important for that too. It really helps us bring this all together and how that companies aren’t doing these things and how are they going them themselves? Perfect! I’m looking forward to it.
    Speaker_2: 11:07 So that’s a wrap on our 10th podcast! Yes, so we’re in double digits. Number 10 is done! So, if you need to get ahold of Scott, you can always find him on or look him up on LinkedIn. As always, you can find these podcasts on all the major channels out there, Apple podcasts, Spotify, iHeart Media, etc.

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