Veteran HR people and managers are aware of some of the traps an interviewer can step into – like leaning toward people who share your interests, or favoring the physically attractive candidate.

But how about the “best of a bad lot” trap? That one can spring when:

  • You’re in a hurry to fill a job, and
  • The candidates you’ve interviewed so far are all worse than mediocre.

Now, if a candidate who’s even semi-competent walks into your office, you may see her as a winner, because you’re comparing her – perhaps unconsciously – to a bunch of losers.

Big mistake. Just because this person is better than lousy doesn’t mean she can do the job.

To avoid this trap and see more clearly, you can:

  • Ask yourself: Would I hire this person if she were the only candidate I’d seen?
  • Get a second opinion. Another interviewer, who hasn’t seen the bad candidates, will have a sharper view of the only slightly better one.

Source: “The Everything HR Kit,” by Putzier and Baker.


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