Recruiter Biases You Can’t Control


Q: I read your recent column about the guy who had three job rejections in a row, even though he was confident he aced every interview. You seemed to blame him for his misfortune. I’ve heard similar stories from plenty of other job seekers. Why don’t you talk about some actual recruiter biasesthat can also lead to not getting hired? –Stephen, New York, New York

A: I must admit I was a little tough on that job hunter, who didn’t need another negative response from someone he was hoping would be more sympathetic. Mea culpa! It’s true that job seekers aren’t the only ones who create their own skewed realities. Recruiters may also have hidden or misconceived agendas, which spring from past experiences and attitudes that resist rational attempts to change them. Many of these biases are unconscious and have little to do with the candidate personally, even though they can definitely affect his or her chances of getting hired.

Here are a few of the most common interviewer biases that thwart job seeker success:

  1. In her heart of hearts, she really doesn’t want to hire anyone

While job seekers and recruiters need to be careful of hidden job search agendas and loaded assumptions about employment, it makes sense to approach the matching process with some preconceived ideas. To determine your best career move, you should have a clear idea of what job you wantand what you have to offer. Potential employers should pick the best person for the job based upon the characteristics of their ideal candidate. Armed with their initial preferences, both parties can work together to determine the likelihood of a mutually satisfying match.

The Interview That Will Lose a Job

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