by Chris Delaney (UK)

The biggest barrier to professional success is the job interview. During the job interview, an interviewee must highlight how they meet the job criteria as well as overcoming the employer’s unconscious biases.

A structured job interview is an analytical process to determine a candidate’s potential job performance. Impressions, initially, are made through the interviewer’s unconscious biases – an emotional process not a logical one.

At a basic level, the unconscious bias will create a ‘like or dislike’ impression of an applicant based on a number of reasons that the interviewer may not be consciously aware of. The initial impression can be created pre-interview; a positive application form can create a ‘halo’ effect. Or the initial impression is created at the interview start; a person’s sex, ethnicity, height and even a candidate’s body mass influence their ‘likeability’ factor which impacts the interviewers scoring.

Interviewers Reactions to Their Prejudices

Hiring decisions are made in two distinct ways through 1) the fast-intuitive emotional brain, this includes being influenced by long-held beliefs, stereotypes and prejudices and 2) via the slower analytical mind; analysing the interviewer’s answer against the job criteria.

An example of the two decision making processes is a male interviewer meeting a female applicant applying for a traditional ‘male’ role. Initially an unconscious thought pops into the employer’s mind ‘I don’t think women should work in masculine roles, but I know I should not be thinking this’

Source: iCN Issue 31  (Life Coaching: Personal & Professional Empowerment ); pages 57-60

About Chris Delaney

Chris Delaney is a career advisor, interview coach and author. After spending 20 years in the industry, Chris has created the interview prediction grid to help career professionals gain industry success.