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Conducting Successful Job Interviews  -
Avoiding Unconscious Influence and Bias
(the 'Warren Harding Error')

You conducted a successful job interview - where you did everything just right.  

You matched the background, had several interviews, asked tough questions and checked references before hiring what seemed to to the perfect person for the role.  And then to your great surprise - they did not work out!   They looked the part in the interview but failed in the job - what happened?

Perhaps The Warren Harding Error and unconscious influence is contributing to your hiring mistakes.

conducting successful interviews

The Warren Harding Error’ refers to the 29th President of the United States, who was elected in 1921 and has been noted as this country’s worst President.  Most believe he was elected because he looked so ‘Presidential’.

In real life he drank, chased women, played poker and implemented little if any meaningful policy.  He died in 1923 amidst incredible controversy in his Administration. 

Business guru and author of bestsellers The Tipping Point and blink:The Power of Thinking Without Thinking Malcolm Gladwell describes this phenomenon as “unconscious influence” and coined the phrase “The Warren Harding Error”. 

Unconscious Influence/Bias &  Hiring = The 'Dark Side'

“Unconscious influence”  is our personal and often unconscious bias toward stereotypes we hold, such as preferences for or against: a certain degree program, a particular college, prior work experience or personality styles that cause us to make a decision about a candidate (person) in the first two seconds of a meeting. 

We take a thin-slice of information, an instinct, and make decisions. In Gladwell’s book, blink, he describes the benefit, power and dark side of unconscious influence and warns us to be aware of it if we want to be conducting successful job interviews.

Gladwell describes hiring as the ‘dark side’ of unconscious influence as he discusses the Warren Harding Error, “They didn’t dig below the surface. The way he looked carried so many powerful connotations that it stopped the normal process of thinking, dead in its tracks.”

A new client discussed the dark side of hiring with me recently.  Perplexed, frustrated and with a strong desire to know the 'secrets' for conducting successful job interviews he asked, “How do I figure out this crazy people puzzle?  I mean is it all a crap shoot?  How can I be more accurate and hire right all the time?  Tell me how to do a better job!!!!"

 Hiring Manger and Employer Interviewer Resources:

The People Puzzle Matters - Six Statistics You Want to Know...

Figuring out the ‘hiring people puzzle’ and the 'secrets' for conducting successful job interviews becomes even more important due to these six statistics and trends:

  • #1: In AonHewitt's Trends in Global Employee Engagement study four employees out of ten employees are not engaged worldwide. (42 percent of employees are somewhat or completely disengaged and are performing poorly in their work.)
  • #2: The AonHewitt Study also revealed that the upcoming years will be challenging years for retention as employees seek new opportunities outside their organization as a result of limited career development and advancement opportunities.
  • #3: The cost to replace an employee who voluntarily quits a company is 1.5 times that employee’s salary.  (Source: Deloitte and Touche)   
  • #4: The cost to replace a high impact employee (Sales Person, Leader and/or an Executive) after you determine you’ve made a hiring mistake and need to hire a replacement is 8 times that employees’ salary. (Source: Topgrading: How Leading Companies Win By Hiring, Coaching and Keeping the Best People.)
  • #5: There is a 50% chance that a new hire will last more than two years (average). (Source: Assimilating New Leaders)  
  • #6: There is a 20% chance that a newly hired senior executive will last two years or more. (Source: Assimilating New Leaders)

Review all these trends and statistics together and you  begin to uncover one of the ‘silent killers’ of corporate profitability!   The costs of hiring the wrong people who either won't perform well or who leave quickly are staggering.  Every company must figure out and continually improve the 'people puzzle'  to ensure profitability.  A powerful place to start improving in this Area is by strengthening your own, and your team's, expertise in conducting successful job interviews.

Get Five Tips & Five Must-Ask Interview Questions  for Conducting Successful Job Interviews - Go To Page 2 Now...

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