We’ve all asked ourselves questions like “Why do smart people make foolish choices?” In Sway: The Irresistible Pull of Irrational Behavior (Doubleday, June 2010) the authors, Ori Brafman and Rom Brafman, examine the reasons for our irrational behavior and suggest how we can make more rational choices.
According to Brafman, the most surprising element of researching Sway was finding out that most job interviews are terrible predictors of actual performance. They found that interviewers often form a quick opinion of a candidate and then ignore any evidence that contradicts their initial impression. I don’t know about you, but I have been there and done that.
“Because we’re so likely to misdiagnose, a much better alternative to the normal job interview is to prepare pre-scripted questions that focus on a candidate’s actual experience,” says Brafman. “Questions like ‘Where do you see yourself five years from now?’ and ‘What are your greatest strengths and weaknesses?’ aren’t very useful. Instead, focus on specifics. If you are hiring a web designer, does her portfolio match the style you are looking for? Is she up to date with her knowledge of web standards? What are her Dreamweaver skills? It is assessing those on-the-job skills that helps hiring managers stay on focus and not make irrational decisions based on initial gut reactions.”
Try that the next time you are conducting a job interview. If you are interested in learning more, check out this weblink for an interesting Question and Answer interview with Ori Brafman.