Hiring Manager Pick Who They Want to Hangout With?

Posted on Mon, Mar 04, 2013

Evaluation ProcessThe Wall Street Journal’s At Work blog recently covered research showing that hiring and dating may not be that far apart.

The study, conducted by the Kellogg School of Management, found that hiring managers approached the candidate evaluation process in a manner that resembles selecting romantic partners.

Hiring professionals admitted that one key evaluation factor is whether they would like to hang out with the person. Concerns about shared culture in terms of leisure pursuits, experiences and self-presentation styles often outweighed concerns about productivity alone.

More than half of the hiring professionals interviewed in the study ranked “cultural fit” as the most important factor in an interview. The study consisted of 120 interviews with hiring managers at investment banks, law firms and consulting firms.

What does evaluating based on “cultural fit” mean in terms of equal employment opportunity laws? Hiring managers who are not comfortable with candidates from different backgrounds may be engaging in discriminatory behavior without even knowing it.

Managers with subconscious biases against certain groups of individuals could very well make discriminatory hiring decisions, which could create a significant legal issue for the employer. And if managers are subconsciously looking at the next candidate as someone they might like to date, they are clearly opening up a problem for the employer.

Hiring managers should focus on objective, job-related criteria when making hiring decisions.

For more information relating to appropriate interviewing techniques, HR That Works users can visit the personnel forms page.


Author: Gail Cecchettini Whaley

HR Watchdog, HRCalifornia’s Employment Law Blog, © California Chamber of Commerce

Tags: hiring managers, interviewing candidates, HR Allen Consulting Services, discrimination, Employers, HR Informant