5 Tips to Reduce Groupthink When Hiring

Job Opportunities in Santa Rosa Ca Reading Time: 3 minutes

Recruiting, interviewing, and hiring qualified candidates can be a tedious process. After a candidate passes the initial screening, they’ll probably meet with multiple people at the company to determine which candidate is the best one to hire. And it makes sense — more opinions lead to better hires.

HBR reports that Google found the average ratings from a group of interviewers was “by far a more accurate predictor of success than the rating of a single interviewer, even if that interviewer was an HR leader or one of the company’s founders”. While group or panel interviews are valuable in that they provide unique opinions and a variety of perspectives to be shared, they can become insignificant if groupthink occurs.

Groupthink is a psychological phenomenon wherein a group setting, some individuals will actually withhold their opinions, in order to avoid conflict or confrontation. Groupthink includes things like self-censoring your thoughts, accepting others’ opinions without questioning, or adapting opinions as facts in order to conform to the group’s opinion. These all can lead to a false sense of unanimity.

In the hiring process, groupthink translates to overlooking qualified candidates to hire what the leader, or most outspoken person, has chosen as the “best” candidate. Groupthink erases the opinions of the individuals in the group to conform to the hiring preferences of one person. To help hire better candidates, you can follow these tips to avoid groupthink when you start hiring for jobs in Santa Rosa, CA.

  1. Structure Your Interview(s), and Tailor Questions for Each Interviewee’s Expertise

When you’re setting up the interview panel for each candidate, delegate questions for each interviewer to ask, related to their own expertise. For example, if the position you’re hiring for will work cross-functionally with marketing, design, and sales teams, you’ll have the interviewer from each of those teams ask the candidate different questions. The marketing interviewer will ask the candidate questions about how their skillset relates to the marketing team, and so on.

Structuring your hiring process for each interviewee allows the interview process to be broad-sweeping and thorough, while simultaneously giving each interviewer a unique conversation with the candidate.

  2.  Build in Time for Reflection Before the Group Discussion

Tips two and three (below) are important to implement as steps in the hiring process before the group of interviewers discuss their thoughts on each candidate. Building in time for reflection before the group discusses allows each interviewer to formulate an independent review of the candidate they’ve spoken to.

During the group discussion, each person will have notes and thoughts to reference and help them contribute to the conversation without conforming to what other interviewers’ opinions are.

  3.  Use a Rating System, and Give Each Candidate a Score Before the Group Discussion

Giving each candidate a numerical score (something as easy as rating them on a scale of one to five) helps quantify each interviewer’s impression of the candidate. When considering candidates comparatively, you can use each candidate’s average score to evaluate them fairly, without the influence of other interviewers.

If the numerical rating system sounds interesting to you, consider using it to rate candidates on specific skills and their competency in each, too. This can provide a more in-depth assessment of their qualifications. To get started, try using this candidate evaluation form.

  4.  In the Group Discussion, Have Each Person Give Feedback, and Explain Their Why

To kick off the group discussion following the interviews, ask each interviewer to give specific feedback on the candidate—briefly—and explain why they gave the candidate the score that they did. Those notes they wrote down earlier will allow an unbiased summary of each interviewer’s impression of the candidate.

Making sure you hear the perspective from each person ensures that each candidate is vetted thoroughly, and eliminates groupthink biases like self-screening.

  5.  Have the Group Leader Speak Last

By having the group leader or manager share their thoughts on the candidate last in the group discussion, you’re eliminating the likelihood that an interviewer would conform to the opinion of the leader subconsciously.

Group interviews are an effective way to hire diverse, qualified candidates who will thrive in your work culture, and bring value to your teams. Following these tips will ensure the success of your group interviews, and help to reduce groupthink when you’re hiring. You’ll find the right candidate in no time!

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