Beware the “Halo Effect” in Candidate Interviewing

Have you ever interviewed a candidate for a position, offered them the job, and then been very disappointed in their performance?  If so you may have fallen victim to the Halo Effect.

Consider the following scenario: Jane Green is interviewing for an Accountant position reporting to your CFO.  As Jane and the CFO converse, they discover that they graduated one year apart from the same high school, have kids in the same soccer league, and enjoy golf.  The CFO reports that he is very impressed with her credentials and intends to make an offer.

But wait a minute, which credentials are we talking about here?  There is no mention of her experience in analyzing financial statements, creating reports, or account reconciliation which is what the position requires.  There is certainly an element of compatibility when hiring, but only as a secondary criterion.  The CFO focused on their common interests and missed the opportunity to assess whether Jane is qualified and able to meet the requirements of the position.  He may be in for a rude awakening after she has been on the job for a few months.

In any hiring interview, the most critical questions are “Can the candidate do the job?” and “Will the candidate do the job?”  More about how to get answers to these questions in a future article.

Sharon Hamersley is Principal of Keys to Performance, Your Resource for Workplace Productivity. Sharon helps businesses hire, train and retain outstanding employees and create workplaces where everyone can do their best work.  For more information, visit her web site http://k2performance.net or call her at 614-395-9440

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