Northwestern’s Lauren Rivera found that job interviewing at elite professional services firms – and perhaps in other industries – is a process of skill sorting as well as cultural matching.
She noted that hiring interviewers who did not employ systematic measures of job-specific requirements tended to use themselves as a benchmark of qualification.
As a result, interviewees rated as “most qualified” tended to resemble their interviewers in educational and geographic backgrounds, self-presentation, hobbies, and more.
This hiring practice leads to cultural homogeneity, which undermines innovation from diversity of thought and experience, demonstrated in research by Katherine Phillips, then of Northwestern, with Katie Liljenquist of Brigham Young University, and Margaret Neale at Stanford University.
Their laboratory study demonstrated the value of diverse groups in task performance and decision making: Teams with out-group newcomers correctly completed a task more frequently than teams joined by an in-group newcomer.
However members of the heterogenous group expressed lower confidence in their performance.
Newcomers can improve group performance by shifting alliances and group interaction, and bringing fresh information to problems.
eHarmony, the online dating service, is developing a job search and candidate matching product intended to reduce the rate of “job-hopping,” according to Grant Langston, VP of customer experience.
This online offering is expected to match supervisors with potential employees based on 40 dimensions including personalities, work habits, hobbies, in addition to competency metrics, corresponding to Rivera’s observation that elite professional service firms “hired in a manner more closely resembling the choice of friends or romantic partners than how sociologists portraying employers selecting new workers.”
Though eHarmony’s candidate matching product may offer a satisfying match between candidate and supervisor, it may exclude qualified candidates who may bring a fresh perspective to the organization and work group.
-*How do you ensure cultural match and diversity of thought and experience in candidate selection?
- Reduce Evaluator Bias: Showcase Best Features in Any Offer
- Hypothetical Questions May Lead to Bias
- Detect and Mitigate Decision Biases
- Human Decision Biases Modeled with Automatons
- Overcoming Decision Bias: Allure of “Availability Heuristic”, “Primacy Effect”
- Biases in Unconscious Automatic Mental Processing, and “Work-Arounds”
- Super-Star Skills May Not be Transferrable to New Job Opportunities