Why Subjective Perception Is Not Recruiting Reality

Why Subjective Perception Is Not Recruiting Reality

technology By Jan 12, 2024 No Comments

Understanding the Power of Subjective Perception in Tech Recruiting

Named a Forbes Next 1000 in 2021 and leader of a Fortune Great Place to Work company, Mike Fitzsimmons is the CEO of Crosschq. Anyone who’s taken Psychology 101 has likely learned about the work of sociologist charles Horton Cooley. He introduced the concept of “the looking-glass self,” which states that our self-image is formed through others’ views of us. The looking-glass self consists of three main components: imagining how we appear to others, imagining how others judge our appearance, and how we develop our self through these judgments by others.

According to an article from Lesley University, “Using social interaction as a type of ‘mirror,’ people use the judgments they receive from others to measure their own worth, values, and behavior.” Practically speaking, let’s say you meet a colleague for the first time. You meet in a conference room and “size” each other visually. A firm handshake follows, but no eye contact. Your new “friend” quickly scans the room to look for another conversation. Signals were sent by both individuals, yet not all of them were affirming.

The Dangers of the Looking-Glass Self

In the workplace, the looking-glass model can create catastrophic or constructive moments. Judging others against ourselves is counterproductive and rarely results in making the right hires. Hiring managers, corporate recruiters, and job candidates stumble when they base their sense of self on how they believe others perceive them.

Clamoring for feedback before, during, and after the interviewing process are candidates. Seeking to present themselves in a manner that will make them the candidate of choice, it’s normal for them to seek social validation. Bear in mind that the candidate you’ve qualified through email and telephone interviews might not be the same individual who shows up in person. Managing emotional balance—especially when the fear of rejection is high—isn’t necessarily a skill employers are measuring, but given the variety of mediums across which candidates exist, it should be.

How many hiring managers have you met over the years who tell you they don’t need help from HR because they go with their gut? More likely, they are falling into the “mirror, mirror” syndrome that Cooley uncovered. Agreeable job candidates fail to trigger self-doubt and, in fact, trigger feelings of confidence and satisfaction for the interviewer. That doesn’t make them the right choice, nor is this a desirable dynamic.

Ironically, recruiters and candidates share a similar emotional connection: the fear of rejection, even to the extent of it feeling like a personal attack. Being a recruiter is a stressful job, requiring skills that include project management; the ability to build and nurture relationships; and consistently meeting deadlines, targets, and expectations. Arming recruiters with tools that generate trusted insights increases productivity, improves clarity, and reduces burnout.

Going back to the looking-glass self, one’s perceptions of others’ judgment can be damaging and inaccurate. For example, the candidate who thinks others admire their sales skills (even though they fail to make quota) will continue to apply for jobs in which they cannot succeed. The hiring manager who perceives others to be impressed by their communication skills might fail to listen to the counsel of their talent acquisition team. Taking it a step further, “impression management” can be a conscious or unconscious attempt to project a desired image that results in favorable judgments.

Going Beyond Judgments in Recruitment

How do you cut through the dance of perceptions and judgments in a tech hiring Environment where top talent often stays available for only 10 days before accepting an offer? You don’t need to redefine your entire recruiting process, which is close to impossible unless you’re starting from scratch in the first place. Simple changes can produce valuable data that can augment—or replace—judgments based on perceptions. For example, checking references early in the hiring process, long before making an offer, reveals red flags that can eliminate “impression management” candidates while standardizing the application process so hiring managers are working from a source of truth versus intuition.

Taking it one step further, candidate self-assessments give applicants a chance to explain what makes them a good choice and, when coupled with outreach to people who have experience working with them, build a clearer understanding of fit. The bottom line is that predicting Business outcomes cannot be achieved through the capriciousness of personal judgments, opinions, or observations. Looking glass “mirroring” serves no function: In the case of tech talent recruiting, the variances between sensory human perception and objective cognitive reality can be the difference between making a mediocre hire and making a great hire.

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Source: forbes

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