We provide competency-based behavioral interviewing training for interview teams including hiring managers, recruiters, and interviewers.
SHRM: Unconscious Bias in the Hiring Process
Written by Michelle Martinez after interviewing Jim Kennedy. Originally published in EMA Online, an online publication of the Employment Management Association, a division of the Society for Human Resource Management. More information on this topic can be found in our add-on module Reduce Unconscious Bias.
A candidate comes into your office for a job interview. Instead of looking right at your face, he casts his eyes downward—a gesture that signifies respect in his Asian culture. But your immediate first thought is, "Can I trust him?" This is a very realistic example of how behavior can take on negative consequences if the parties involved aren't aware of cultural differences.
Jim Kennedy, founder and advisor of Interview Edge, a San Rafael, CA-based firm specializing in interview training, says his clients share similar experiences to the one mentioned above. One case in point: A staffing manager at a multi-billion-dollar technology company interviewed a job candidate from India. The staffing manager felt the candidate was a terrific match for the open position so he arranged a meeting between the candidate and the vice president. The meeting with the vice president only lasted about five minutes, and when the candidate returned to the staffing manager's office, he looked upset. The candidate said that when he walked into the vice president's office, instead of introducing himself or getting to know the candidate, the executive abruptly said, "Why should I hire you?"
The candidate was not accustomed to such blunt behavior. He thought it was offensive and he felt hurt and bewildered as to why the vice president didn't want to learn more about him and his qualifications. In his culture, building a rapport with people was an important part of any communication.
Such an interaction could cost an organization the loss of a highly talented individual. One of the mistakes interviewers often make, explains Kennedy is "to assume they are treating everyone fairly if they are treating everyone the same. This is not fair, you have to respond to where they (candidates) are and treat each person as a unique individual."
With all the career books and seminars available, it's often difficult for interviewers to see beyond behavior that is not "by-the-book." But because the workforce has become more diverse and global, it's important for interviewers to "move beyond their cultural comfort zone," Kennedy says. "We help interviewers learn more about people from different cultures, train them to be more objective, and give them techniques to keep the interview going, drawing out information from candidates who may not as freely disclose their accomplishments."
The technology talent scarcity has brought out the need for interviewers to become more aware of the cultural backgrounds of candidates. "Many of the technology candidates (in the Silicon Valley, for example) might come from cultures where assertiveness and self-promotion was not mainstream," says Kennedy. And, direct eye contact would be a sign of disrespect.
A couple of points Kennedy suggests to expand your cultural comfort zone:
- Develop a rapport with candidates. Take time for small talk and introductions. Thank candidates for coming. Provide some information about the organization. Such efforts exemplify respect.
- Don't use the "lazy person's interview question," which is asking—as the first question—"Why should I hire you?"
- If a candidate seems humble or reluctant to talk about personal accomplishments, it may be because the candidate is used to work in a team environment where individuals don't talk about their own accomplishments. To help draw out the information, take the time to ask questions about the team. "Allow the candidate to talk about what others did on the project," Kennedy says. "Then ask the candidate what was his or her role was on the team."
- Don't assume that taking more time with a candidate during the interview is a negative, or a strike against an individual's performance. Rapport- and relationship-building is highly valued in many cultures. Don't assume the fast-paced "American way" is the best way to communicate.
"Today's interviewers need to learn skills to move beyond their cultural comfort zone," Kennedy says. "This will eliminate unconscious interviewer bias and lead to better hiring decisions. It will also serve them well in relating to different people they work with on a day-to-day basis as colleagues and customers."
- Interview Training for Hiring Managers
- Interviewing Candidates Who Prepare With ChatGPT
- Behavioral Interviewing Training Reinvented
- Hiring Successful Leaders for a Hybrid World
- Are Bad Interviews Costing You Good Hires?
- Conducting Effective Performance Reviews Virtually
- Virtual Interviews: The New Benchmark
- Overcome Unconscious Bias in Job Interviews
- How to Interview Sales Candidates
- A Case for Attorney Interviewing Training
- Tech Hiring Fails Without Behavioral Assessment
- Building Relationships with Candidates
- Competency-based Behavioral Interviewing Training
- Questioning Panel Interviews
- Improving the Flawed Interview Process
- Fallacy of "Give Me an Example" Questions
- Real Cost of Hiring Mistakes
- Early Social Competencies Lead to Success
- Why Stress Interviews Don't Work
- Interviewer Training Addresses These Challenges
- Google Validates Behavioral Interviewing Training
- Increase Team Performance By 40%
- How to Interview the Technical Candidate
- Effectively Interviewing New College Graduates
- How Bad Interviews Impact Hiring Results
- Competency Interviewing Narrows Skill Gap
- Sell the Job with Three Paychecks
- Pitfalls of Competencies in Behavioral Interviews
- Three Questions to Keep Your Interviews Legal
- NCHRA:Does Behavior-based Interviewing Still Work?
- Why Bizarre Interview Questions Go Viral
- Training Magazine: Invented Lives
- SHRM: Unconscious Bias in the Hiring Process
- Expand Your Cultural Comfort Zone in the Interview
- Skeptical of the Candidate? Try Three Questions
- Getting Beyond the Resume to Predict Success
- How to Interview and Hire Engineers
- Overcoming First Impressions in an Interview
Ready To Discuss Interviewer Training?
When you login to HirePath® Interview Tools or Effective Interviewing!® Online Learning, you accept the Terms and Conditions Policy, and acknowledge that this user account is for your individual access only.
An email has been sent to you with instructions on how to reset your password.
Interview Edge, Inc. Terms & Conditions Policy
The entire content of this website, including but not limited to text, graphics, logos, images, and multimedia, is the exclusive property of Interview Edge, Inc. and is protected by U.S. and international Copyright laws. You may print portions of this content solely in connection with your use of the services provided on this website as an information resource. Unauthorized duplication or redistribution of this content may violate Copyright, trademark and other laws.
We provide the website on an "as is" and "as available" basis and without warranty or condition of any kind, express or implied. Each user agrees that use of the website is at the user's sole risk. We reserve all right to limit, restrict or terminate access to the website for no reason or any reason whatsoever, including, without limitation, if we believe that user conduct violates applicable law or is harmful to the interests of Interview Edge, Inc. or our clients.
Use of personal Information
Information you provide us
We receive personal information from Website users who submit information directly, such as when they request our training services or register for our online learning. This information typically includes name, company, phone and email address. We may also collect mailing address and phone number for contracts and billing.
How we use the information
We are committed to personal data minimization and limiting use to those processing activities for which consent was given. We use the personal information you provide as necessary to deliver our products or services, or as required for legal compliance or other lawful purposes. We use your personal information to register you for our online user accounts and to directly communicate with you via email or phone. We take reasonable steps to ensure that personal data is accurate, complete, current, and reliable for its intended use.
Information we share
We take reasonable and appropriate measures to protect personal information from loss, misuse and unauthorized access, disclosure, alteration and destruction, considering the risks involved and the nature of the personal information.
Your choices, access and rights
You may have the right to request access to, a copy of, rectification, restriction in the use of, or erasure of your information in accordance with all applicable laws. The erasure of your information shall be subject to applicable state and federal laws. You may visit and browse our Website without providing any personal information, and you can choose not to provide us with the personal information we request. However, choosing not to provide us with certain information that we request may prevent you from accessing or using certain portions of our Website. Upon request, Interview Edge, Inc. will provide individuals with reasonable access to their personal data, and in doing so allowing individuals the opportunity to correct, amend or delete personal data where it is inaccurate, or has been processed without your consent. A request may be denied under certain circumstances, such as where the burden or expense of providing access would be disproportionate to the risks to the privacy of the individual in the case in question, or where the rights of persons other than the individual would be violated.
Our contact information
If you have any questions or concerns about our privacy practices described above, you may reach us at:
Phone: +1 415.459.4800