Bias, Looks and Outputs: For the Love of HR


In the world of HR we are both actors and observers. We see candidates and hiring managers coming, going and acting. We see the biases, hear the comments, weigh the outputs. However we gravitated to our jobs, we  usually love them.  Are we the best at them? As hiring managers, do we evaluate ourselves? Let's have a quick assessment.

When a candidate showed up for an interview, as I walked into my office while she was waiting I wondered what to think. How many hiring managers and HR people make - consciously or not- their decision based on that first impression? Too many! How many divulge their opinion on their facial expression? One too many.

Here is the story: everyday story of so many hiring managers and candidates.  Let's begin with Betty and her most unconventional look. Definitely punk with polished efforts for the interview. Still punk, correct?

  • "Unfit" look could be a Terrific Fit. Betty exhibited a punk look: definitely what some people would describe as "unfit" for an office culture or environment. Granted, she might have not made the cut in a very conservative environment, but this was in a more "creative" one. She had a charming smile, and most of all intelligent talk. At first glance she would not have been my primary choice. It turned out that she became one of my most valuable staff members. I really liked Betty. Yes, I agree that her sense of style was uncommon for the most part; but it was not tasteless, and I am fine with that. She was a valuable team member: extremely organized, speedy, serious, terrific on project taking, and intelligent. The ideal team member with a "different" look.
  • Conventional look: Could be synonymous of lack of flexibility? On the other hand let's take Candy and Ellen: both quite conventional looking and internal candidates, they were spotted for interviewing. They were good workers for the most part, but while Candy was serious in her work and made efforts to meet basic goals, she had nothing to make her stand apart. She was average, no more nor less. Actually, she was very punctual at arriving and at leaving. For her, things had a beginning and an end by the clock, if not the minute, no matter the project at hand. She was one of these people who hate to feel being in a position of "inferiority" to her taste. She was not the least engaged: she accepted the position because she couldn't find a better fit.
  • Smooth talk: From positive to negative? Ellen conjured commitment from the beginning and came highly recommended. A small issue: she was quite a talker. It was exuberant talking at times. She was at ease on spilling on so many personal matters, and later on revealing herself capable of somehow negative alliances. For the most part, she was a committed worker, somehow lacking method, but a reliable team member. You could count on her for having a task done and for being there whenever most needed. I can value that.  
Small stories among others, three typical examples among so many others... People get hired for one reason or another. For the most part, hiring managers think that they are making the right decision. But how much does the first impression weigh on the hiring decision?
  • That First Impression Counts. I would never say the opposite. So, as a candidate, make the best of that first impression and follow your "feelings". I am not going to say that you should not listen to advices. Weigh them, consider what seems sound to you, listen to professionals or experienced people as much as possible. Do not let well-intentioned people project themselves or their personal wishes on you. Be the best of yourself, but be yourself. It is better to not get a job because it is a bad fit rather than getting into a position that will make you feel miserable, be vulnerable, and eventually ruin your career. That first impression is a two way affair: the impression you make to the hiring manager, and the one that you get of the company and the hiring manager. Believe it or not, it is the beginning of a love affair between you and the company.

And here you are, the hiring manager. There are so many kinds of us. Let's not categorize us under the grid of six categories of management of  Rosalind Cardinal or leadership of Hay-McBer report.  Let's just have a little introspection. Could you be one of these seven actors?
    1. You could be A: fearsome and unapproachable looking, defensive and lacking objectivity because you feel, and are vulnerable after all. Consequently, your defense is to attack first, and at all cost. Others will pay the cost; not you. You are certainly never directly responsible for the decisions that you think you have to make. You have to navigate a maze of winning 'path' because it is a matter of survival  for you. It is difficult for you to think out of the box because you preclude that it is about rules and only rules.
    2. You could be B: Forgettable might just be your middle name because you do not want to stand out. For you, reference to policies, procedures and hierarchy is your defense against taking any action. You have to be away from "responsibility." The blame is not going to be on you: "safety" is your approach.
    3. You could be C: Alliance is your goal; and maneuvering, if not manipulation is your tool. You are approachable, many find you likable, most  know that it is best to be on your side. You know the weak points of your people: your winning game evolves around those points. You need to have the upper hand. It is your tool to reach your metrics.
    4. You could be D: Relentlessly friendly, you are very result-oriented. You are a serious worker with set opinions that are not necessarily those of the company. You can accept company values without embracing them. You are there to work and reach your metrics the best you can. Does your staff realize it? It seems to work for you: no major dislikes on your account.
    5. You could be E: People can qualify you as easy going or bossy. Is that possible, would you say? Maybe you blend those two extremes. You are organized, set goals and parameters, and yet, you are not forceful. You like bringing changes and innovation. You embrace technology and like shaking the world while respecting hierarchy. Middle of the road manager?
    6. You could be F: Fear dominates your actions and results. You rely a lot on your subordinates and do not quite understand office politics. You are capable of good results but your choices of alliances backfire on you. Are you set for failure? Maybe you are on a growing path.
    7. You could be G: You think that it is about dominating. You act as you may do as you please. Confrontation is your best-known approach and you are alienating your team members. For you it is about being superior and accepted as being the best. Your hiring mode reflects your managerial style: you will view positively whoever "is" like you in one way or another. You think that you never lose, but aren't you already losing it all?
Your approach to hiring will reflect your daily actions, your leadership style, and your managerial aptitude. Are you hiring for the present or the future, the company or yourself, the candidate or the job? Hopefully, we understand that it takes a little bit of all flavors to make a good blend. Let's not overlook the possibility that the one we might think as being the best candidate may not always be the best hire. Does it occur to HR that it could be the cause of "unexplained" high turnover in many organizations? How much can we stir away from our biases? Somehow, somewhere in the process we could miss the boat. Are we more actors than observers?

For the love of HR and our organization, where do we stand, and where do we want to lead our managers?

En Synthèse....

Embaucher? Manager, c'est du gâteau! Pas toujours!

Pour la Saint Valentin et les inconditionnels RH, faisons une petite introspection. Dans quelle mesure, RH ou pas, prenons-nous des décisions basées sur des préjugés, des idées préconçues, une première vue? Embaucher? C'est du gâteau! Pas toujours! 

En Synthèse....

Certainement pas toujours. Car pour commencer, combien haussent les sourcils quand ils voient un certain type de candidats? Soit, la bonne impression, ça compte. Mais je vous dis, ce haussement de sourcils peut vous compter la perte d'un candidat à haut potentiel.  Pour l'amour des RH, évaluons ce qui se passe.

De nos jours, on en voit de toutes les couleurs pour ainsi dire, temps "modernes" obligent. Des exemples, nous en voyons bien souvent, des Marie et des Jean défilent. Certains se révèlent être des stars, d'autres traînent les pieds. Pourquoi?

Je t'aime..Je t'aime pas...

Nous devenons victimes de nos choix. La raison? Souvent c'est notre incapacité à valoriser l'aspect professionnel. Notre difficulté à faire la part des choses. Tatous ou excentricités mis à part, Marie pourrait être un partenaire professionnel de valeur. Pourquoi projeter vos valeurs personnelles sur les candidats? Vous est-il jamais venu en tête que candidat "hors normes" pourrait être pour de bon "cool"?

La question est ceci: quel genre de RH, employeur ou de patron êtes-vous? Voyons sept figures bien véridiques.

  1. Celui ou celle qui cherche la petite bête pour s'assurer sa propre place et pérennité aux dépens des autres; Manque d'assurance serait synonyme de lacunes?

  2. Celui ou celle qui a pour motto "dans le doute, abstiens-toi" (de faire quoi que ce soit!)

  3. Celui ou celle qui joue au caméléon et qui manipule? La fin veut les moyens! Parle toujours, tu m’intéresses, mais je ne le laisserai jamais savoir que c'est ce que je pense....

  4. Celui ou celle qui est "hypersyntonique" (sic!) vis-à-vis du staff et qui veut "réussir" sans se salir les mains. Rester neutre, observer les directives sans s'engager d'une façon ou d'une autre. 

  5. Celui ou celle qui suit le courant des événements de son mieux, conduit les projets, se met en avant, est "tech", partner avec son staff au point de pardonner les "boulets".

  6. Celui ou celle qui s'attire les "mauvaises fréquentations" sans le savoir. Manque de finesse, manque d’expérience. Le management, c'est un peu comme le vin, cela se boit mieux bien cuvé...

  7. Celui ou celle qui se croit être le plus grand, le plus beau; n'est jamais perdant (hum, relatif!) Le management, c'est l’autorité absolue.


    Une bonne dose de bon sens et d'impartialité, un frein sur les préjugés et une discipline mentale et éthique deviennent une condition sine qua non de la qualité du processus d'embauche. Et cela fait partie des qualités managériales et RH. 


    La question revient: quel genre de RH voulons-nous être? Et où voulons-nous conduire nos managers?   



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