I think we all know how quickly we form a positive or negative impression of someone – I believe it is around 4 seconds. In fact at a recent British Psychological Society Conference it was said that we make up our minds on someone’s integrity and trustworthiness in less than 2 seconds. It is amazing, therefore, that so few people use something like psychometric profiling which can at least introduce some objectivity into a critical process of getting the right people in the right job.
A Horizon programme recently demonstrated how easy it is to influence this critical process if there are no checks and balances.
They had a candidate for a job interviewed by two separate groups of 4 people. in one:one discussions. On the way to the interview room they gave each of the individuals in one group a hot drink to hold for a few minutes and the other group a cold drink. All four of those who held the hot drink said they would give the individual the job and all those who held the cold drink said they wouldn’t.
This apparently was typical of much more intensive research that was done in this area. They know what the impact of hot and cold drinks are but don’t yet understand why this happens.
As Jim Collins says in Good to Great, there is literally nothing which is more important than getting the right people on the bus and in the right seats. Many organisations really only pay lip service to this and this example shows how easily we can be influenced without something to help us overcome our prejudices.