I discuss one of the classic mistakes hiring managers make.
Hi, I’m Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter. I encourage and coach people to play their professional and personal games big. Excuse the lighting. Haveor some reason, it’s making me look very washed out and I apologize. This is a video in a series that I’ve been doing about employer interviewing and hiring mistakes. And the mistake I’m going to talk with you about is not seeing people for who they really are.
That’s the influence of bias, both positive and negative bias. The person who walks in the door who is, I’m going to use bad slang here, “drop dead gorgeous.” That’s male or female. You see them and they are so impressive for their appearance that you go through the questions, excuse my language, in a half assed kind of way, and instead are mesmerized by how good looking they are.
Conversely, you can also be adversely affected and have a bias toward people who are fat, who look differently than you, dress poorly because they can’t afford a better wardrobe. Individuals of all different races, religions, backgrounds, and you can justify your decision based upon objective criteria but, if you ask yourself the question, if this person were dropped dead gorgeous walking in the door, would I give them a second chance? If you’re honest with yourself, you probably would.
Now, let me go to the example of the person who’s different than you and you perceive them negatively. You have to put your biases aside. You know, this person could be a great intellect, a dedicated individual. You want to hire a team player. There is no more team player and this individual, but you’re distracted because of their girth. Why is that? Because you have to get them a bigger chair. So what firm can’t afford it?
If this person is have a different religion or race than you, get to the intellect, get to the knowledge, understand what makes them tick, instead of asking them to tell you about yourself and instead ask them to . . . ask them this question instead.
“So as you look back at your life, what brought you to this moment? What’s your background that had you enter this field and wind up in my office today?” What you’re going to do is learn about the individual and their life holistically. I spoke about this in another video, based upon a podcast called “Reply All” that was released and made this suggestion then because it makes a lot sense. You know, there are things about a person and their life that you’ll find out by asking them my question or the question that was offered on Reply All.
Instead of “Tell me about yourself,” you’ll find out about what brought them to this point what their training was, what their education is, how they wound up, being the first of their family to have this experience or how they stumbled into this career but it got adopted by someone who trained the heck out of them.
I remember, there’s a guy in New York I met many years ago, who used to adopt, putting in air quotes, a number of young inner city kids and train the heck out of them in network engineering. He had a data center in his brownstone and would bring the kids in and train the heck out of them and they’d work for him for nothing because they loved the education that they got, they all went on to great fields. Did any of them have a comp sci degree. No. None of them even had degrees but if you looked at their resume, you’d go “where are they working?” No degree? Delete.
But you’d find out if you actually talk to them, how they were involved with providing communications to Baltic nations, at times where the Soviet Union or the old Soviet Union was trying to block them from being able to have international communications, or how each of them broke the networking blockades that existed on their banking systems that the old Soviets had implement and what their part of it was. You’d never know that unless you actually talked to them and asked the question like what I’m suggesting.
So, take the time to get to know someone. Don’t just simply respond impulsively, and reflexively which basically involves no thought. It’s a conditioned learning response. It’s keeping you from getting the person that you really want and need.
So, get out there, experiment a little bit. If I’m wrong from your vantage point, Hey, no harm, no foul ,right. Now, no one gets hurt. You’re still going to get the same information and you may still reject them. But following my lead here, you’re going to learn a lot more about a person and their background and see really from that story, much better than you’ll find through your standard questions about fit.
ABOUT JEFF ALTMAN, THE BIG GAME HUNTER
Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter is a career and leadership coach who worked as a recruiter for more than 40 years. He is the host of “No BS Job Search Advice Radio,” the #1 podcast in iTunes for job search with more than 1600 episodes and his newest show, “No BS Coaching Advice.” He is a member of The Forbes Coaches Council. “No BS JobSearch Advice Radio” was recently named a Top 10 podcast for job search. JobSearchTV.com was also recently named a Top 10 YouTube channel for job search.
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