Hiring the right people can have an enormous impact on the success of your organisation. Given the risks involved, hiring decisions should never be based solely on intuition or gut feeling. Unfortunately, subjectivity is still a pervasive issue in hiring.
The only sure way to ensure that competent and motivated candidates are selected is to use a repeatable, evidence-based decision-making process. This slow, deliberate decision-making method is what Daniel Kahnemann, Nobel Prize winner in Behavioural Economics and author of Thinking, Fast and Slow, refers to as System 2 thinking. System 2 thinking is used when people make rational, complex decisions, where the mind retrieves mental data and weighs the pros and cons.
On the other hand, System 1 thinking is near-automatic, swift, associative, emotional, effortless and learns through subjective experiences. Also known as gut-feeling or intuition, it is often what hiring managers unconsciously lean towards when making people decisions. This form of decision-making involves mental shortcuts that introduce many biases to the hiring process.
1. Similarity attraction bias
We like people like us. This is a hard-wired natural tendency that can often skew our opinions about others in a positive (halo effect) or negative (horn effect) way. One popular method companies use to get around this is by conducting many interviews with different people. Unfortunately, the effectiveness of having many interviews is debatable.
2. Conformity bias
Also referred to as "groupthink", studies have shown that humans have a tendency to adapt their opinions to match that of others, especially when they are in senior roles. This is where multiple interviews, and the discussions that follow them, can also result in System 1 conclusions.