Inherent Bias!

I often see candidates talk about how they should be hired for their skills and nothing else. This makes me question, are we “humans” just our “skills?” There is so much more to us, and what makes us a good employee or a partner at work. I think the space they are coming from is biases. They don’t want to be judged by their race, religion, gender, etc. Which is a fair point. For a long time, people have been discriminated against. No one should be disqualified on the basis of what they look like or what gender they are or what their preferences in their personal lives are. But, don’t we all have our own biases? We view life from our own perception filters. When you go to interview, don’t you sub-consciously judge the environment, the interviewer, the receptionist? Let me answer before you say no, yes you do. We might not realize it, but we do. To judge is to human. It’s part of what makes us different from other species. To make assessments based on our surroundings and past experience. Our personal biases stem from our past experiences. We judge things based on what happened to us before. A new recruiter calls you, you don’t want to talk to them because she reminds you of your ex or the recruiter who wronged you. New manager shows similar traits as the old one who was Hitler in suit. You will be weary. It’s like dating, when your new love prospect looks like your abusive ex, you will steer clear. It’s the same way the employer judges you. Sometimes in a good way, sometimes in a bad. You like sticking to yourself all the time, even though the company you are interviewing with go to happy hour and lunches regularly. You will feel like a fish out of water. You can try to adjust, but you will be miserable in a few months. The company thrives in new ideas, but you like sticking to your work and given the project. This is not a match made in heaven. I ask candidates and peers this one question. “What do you do in your spare time?” and “Do you read? If so, what’s your genre?” These questions tell me a few things, what you are passionate about. What do you really do when you aren’t forced in this social construct of working to live and living to work. The book question tells me whether we have something in common. If you don’t read, that’s fine, I have other interests that I ask about. People need to have things in common if you are going to create meaningful relationships. I know how it feels to not have a job and be unemployed. Not have an income. I have taken jobs where it turned out to be a disaster  because I was desperate. They low-balled me by 11k/year. That was a lot of money, but I still took it. Because I needed a job and I was running out of money.  It was as I mentioned a disaster. Being judged doesn’t sound all that fun, until we realize that we do it to others too. It’s a circle of life. So next time you are interviewing, make sure to consciously judge your next employer and manager. You need to know this is the right fit.

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