Hiring someone new to fill a role can be challenging. This is especially true for executive roles, especially if the company is conducting the search in-house. The more senior the role, the more critical it is to get it right. The ramifications of getting it wrong can set a company back months if not years. One of the most difficult biases to overcome in the hiring process is hiring manager blind spots.
A recent Harvard Business Review article discusses the ways hiring managers may sabotage the process without even realizing it. Almost all hiring managers have a blind spot, which can be detrimental if it goes unnoticed by others involved in the hiring process. According to the article, there are five blind spots that can compromise hiring the best candidate.
Fixing and Rescuing
A common blind spot among founders and entrepreneurs is fixing and rescuing. By their very nature, they believe they can affect change which can translate to overconfidence in certain areas, such as developing employees in spite of evidence to the contrary. Candidates that raise red flags to others may not be worth the risk.
Some hiring managers are seeking the proverbial “yes man” without knowing it. The article notes a Cornell Johnson Graduate School of Management study that, “warns that leaders who develop “heightened overconfidence from high levels of such ingratiatory behavior” will be less likely to “initiate needed strategic change.” This type of blind spot is sometimes referred to as “affect-based” decision-making. If someone provides a counter viewpoint of the business that you think has merit, don’t dismiss it or them.
Even though many people refer to the office or team as being like a family, it’s important not to actually treat co-workers or direct reports like you would treat a family member. This type of blind spot is called boundary breaching. Empathy is a great skill for a manager, it helps you be more understanding and supportive. But there is a need for professional boundaries, and those who tend to overshare personal information may not be the right candidate.
The blind spot of micromanaging during the interviewing process tends to attract candidates who themselves, “tolerate inflexible environments well — individuals who lack passion, are not highly engaged, prefer linear work, and are not highly driven.” The candidates you want to attract want to know that there is autonomy, and freedom to make decisions, and tend to have a strong internal locus of control.
This blind spot is the opposite of the previous one. Not wanting to micromanage doesn’t mean you can fully detach from the team. There is a difference between trusting your team and letting them do their own thing. If you convey this type of environment during the interviewing process, you will again attract power-seekers who can create conflict and have a me-first disposition. It’s important for the team to know that the independence they have is balanced with committed leadership.
To read more about how to recruit, hire, and train candidates that build your company culture, check out our blog.