chairs and interview bias

Interview Bias: A Costly Mistake

Data has become an important factor in decision making for businesses worldwide, as it facilities more informed choices. With all the information available us, it’s puzzling that when interviewing, we often revert to our ‘gut’ feeling about a Candidate. It’s baffling, since making the right hire is one of the most important decisions for your business.

At Red Executive, we have, on average, 200 interviews being conducted a month. In January, 186 decisions were made based on ‘gut’ feelings and without the use of data. By using data, you greatly improve the chances of making the right hire, the first time around. This is evident with our Clients who implement the Red Executive Talent Scorecard System. If we consider, 14 job searches were conducted in 2016, utilising this system, and all 14 hires are STILL in employment, doing very well and delivering the expectations outlined during the interview process. It seems the consistent use of data works.

Yet, despite the evidence to prove that using data works, why do we still have people relying on their ‘guts’ to make decisions? One simple reason: ‘Interview Bias.’ Interview bias occurs when certain factors influence someone’s hiring decision. It can have detrimental effects on your business, as you may not make the right hire.

4 key elements of Interview Bias

Preconceived ideas about the Candidate

The interviewer develops preconceived notions about the candidate before they have even met. The preconceived notions are developed based on information the interviewer received from the Candidate’s CV, social media, or other sources. This information skews the interviewer’s impression of the individuals’ abilities to fulfil the role. Even worse is when an interviewer uses this information and decides not conduct an interview with the Candidate. Remember, we are in a ‘War for Talent’ and such practices reduce the size of the potential pool of talent.

Superficial assessments

The interviewer makes decisions about the Candidate based on superficial assessments rooted in their looks, race, gender, background etc…elements that have no bearing on the Candidates ability to do the job.

Unrealistic expectations

The interviewer develops expectations about the Candidate not based on any real merit. Ultimately influencing how they evaluate the Candidate. For example, the interviewer has developed a low expectation of a candidate and after the interview, the evaluation tends to reflect it, despite the Candidate’s potential.


Interviewers tend to rely on intuition to decide if a Candidate is a right fit for their company. The bias is associated with the unreliability of intuition because it is influenced by external elements, like emotion, memory and any preconceived biases created by the interviewer. Your gut is NOT the best tool to make a decision.

If you fall trap to these interview biases,’ it could mean you won’t make the right hire, the first time. This could cost your business money and is a waste of time and effort. Also, what if this bias dismisses a Candidate that would be ideal for the role?

If you can avoid these ‘Interview Biases’ and employ a more ‘data’ driven model, you will certainly be on the right road to win the ‘War for Talent’ and ultimately help your business outperform your competition.

We believe the ‘Talent Scorecard’ that we utilise on certain searches helps alleviate these issues.

Get in touch to learn more about our Talent Scorecard.

This was written by Martin Collins, the Founder & MD of Red Executive

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