Embrace the Emotions that Derail Good Interview Processes

Frank Corrigan
Growth / Analytics

I was building my first team - an operations analytics team embedded within a logistics organization at a large ecommerce retailer. In hindsight, my interview process was riddled with mistakes. Perhaps the biggest mistake was the informal huddle with the interview group before the formal debrief just to get a quick pulse check - what did you think of that candidate? This huddle felt awesome. It gave me the feeling of importance - it made me feel like I was part of the team. However, it also may have led to poor decision outcomes stemming from confirmation bias and groupthink. I explicitly remember my opinions being transformed in my mind when more senior and experienced leaders shared their views first. I wonder if it’s possible to experience that emotional team connection, but improve the decision hygiene for interview debriefs. 🤔

In order to make the interview process as “efficient” as possible, many organizations have tried to make them more robotic. A typical interview routine might look like this: 

This is good decision hygiene. What does that mean? In Noise, the authors describe decision hygiene as the protocols used to reduce the amount of human judgment used in a decision making process. The authors write “hygiene will not prevent all mistakes. It will not make every decision brilliant. But like handwashing, it addresses an invisible yet pervasive and damaging problem. Wherever there is judgment, there is noise [variation in judgment], and we propose decision hygiene as a tool to reduce it.”

When I built that first team, I could agree that the decision hygiene wasn’t great. Did that prevent me from building a great team? It’s hard to say. Why? I had a good outcome, but I don’t know if that’s because we made good hiring decisions or I got lucky. It’s a complex question to answer and there’s no way to run a counterfactual. What I do know is that in other roles where I’ve hired and skipped the decision hygiene best practices, the outcome was a regrettable one. The people you hire to your team won’t always work well, but you can increase the probability of a good outcome with decision hygiene.

Hiring is a high stakes decision. Getting it right can change the team’s trajectory. Getting it wrong can end the team’s trajectory. But people, myself included, are emotional creatures. We crave the inclusiveness we feel from that informal huddle. We are faced with a trade-off. Or are we? Maybe we can have the cake and eat it too. 

Making Storied part of your interview debrief process creates a team connection experience and improves decision hygiene. In the event timeline above, Storied comes in during the final stage; formal debrief & decision. 

This is a hypothetical for how that might look:

  • The recruiter shares a thread with a few questions. An example might have 4 questions for each of the 4 candidates each asking if you are inclined to hire or not inclined to hire and why.
  • Each interviewer articulates their response.
  • Then the transcripts are summarized and provided back to the recruiter along with the voice replies to be shared with the interview group.

By doing this, the group gets to hear each other, without influencing each other, and sees where they fit into the group’s synopsis. When you can see how your contribution and your ideas fit in - that triggers the feeling of you matter. This generates the emotional team connection experience and improves the decision hygiene for interview debriefs. Rather than dismissing the emotions associated with that informal huddle that may potentially derail a good interview process, teams should embrace them. By using Storied you can experience the emotional team connection without risking a hiring faux pas.

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