Perceptual Errors in Selection Process
Selecting the most suitable person for the job is a crucial aspect of organizational success. Perception plays a significant role in this process. Some common perceptual errors made in job interviews are described below:
Making positive or negative generalizations about a group or category of people, usually based on inaccurate assumptions and beliefs and applying these generalizations to an individual member of the group.” For e.g. Girls are very talkative, Rich is cruel to poor.
Drawing a general impression of the individual on the basis of a single characteristic. i.e. if someone is good at one dimension, he/she is perceived to be good at other dimensions as well.
Similarity error or Similar to me effect:
The similarity error occurs when an interviewer makes a more favorable evaluation of someone who is similar to the interviewer. For instance, an athletic interviewer with an outgoing personality might have an undeservedly positive impression of someone who is outgoing and athletic.
The contrast error occurs when an interviewer compares the candidate to other candidates instead of evaluating the individual according to a set standard. For instance, a mediocre candidate may receive an outstanding evaluation if interviewed after several poor candidates. Similarly, a strong candidate may receive a mediocre evaluation if seen after several outstanding candidates.
Overreacting to negative information:
Interviewers often perceive negative information as more important than positive information. A candidate who presents negative information at the beginning of an interview is more likely to receive a negative evaluation than a candidate who presents this information at the end of the interview. This is partially due to the impact of first impressions, which is discussed below.
First impression error:
Sometimes people make hasty judgments or evaluations of other people based on their first impressions. The first three minutes of a job interview can determine whether the person will get the position. Research suggests that positive first impressions are more likely to change than negative first impressions.
When the most recent information influences our judgment, even though we have a whole of other information on the Person.
People’s preconceived expectations and beliefs determine their behavior, thus, serving to make their expectations come true, Example when a teacher, labeled a kid as stupid (because he has illegible handwriting). Soon the kid believed on teacher and behaves like one. Sometimes our expectations turn into a self-fulfilling prophecy. Consider the example of a manager who believes that an employee is bored with his work and may quit. The manager gives this employee minimal feedback and encouragement, and assigns the interesting work tasks to other employees. These actions provoke the employee, who previously had no intention of doing so, into resigning.
The above mentioned selecting errors may undermine the efforts of organization to select the most suitable candidate for the job opening, so the Recruiters/Selecting managers should be aware of human psychological tendencies and must avoid them while interviewing or making any decision for that matter.