Do you find that you are often disappointed that candidates don’t seem to be as strong in the workplace as they appeared at interview? Do you find that the stocks you pick don’t perform quite as well as you had anticipated?  Both of these effects are examples of the Interview illusion.

We are naturally biased towards positions where we feel we have privileged information. We convince ourselves that our initial conclusion was correct and shade future questions accordingly. This can be extremely subtle but hugely impactful. For example the difference between the two questions “Are you happy” and “Are you unhappy” is significant. They are logically the same question but when posed, they will yield statistically very different results.

The interview illusion can be explained by the different ways in which we think, described by Daniel Kahneman at System 1 and System 2 thinking. This is parallel to when people refer to following their heart or their head. System 1 thinking is incredibly fast. It is your brain processing associations and creating reactions faster than you can consciously think. In the event of sudden danger, such as somebody pulling in front of you at a junction, you actually start to turn the wheel or go to hit the brakes before you are consciously aware of the danger. Your System 1 thinking quickly draws conclusions about your interviewee or even the stocks you pick and then begins to influence and direct your System 2 (logical, conscious) thinking in subtle but important ways.

You often hear people refer to themselves as either being very logical or that they like to trust and follow their instincts. Research from fields as diverse and, you would think, as extreme in this sense as derivatives traders and art dealers shows that the best in both fields listen to both their System 1 and System 2 thinking i.e. their hearts and their heads. Don’t limit your capacity to take the best decision by characterising your self as one or the other.

Executive Coaching will help improve your decision-making, highlighting hidden assumptions. These days, most top performers in business work with a coach.If you would like to invest in yourself and the value of your business then call me on 07730 700258 to arrange a free introductory Coaching session.