A fresh take on ideas and trends in Human Capital

First Impressions Are Everything

It’s generally assumed that 7 seconds is the time it takes to form an impression of someone an

It’s generally assumed that 7 seconds is the time it takes to form an impression of someone and, depending on what research you read, it can be as little as a fraction of a second. This is because as humans we’re designed to judge; it’s an evolutionary trait, we need to judge what is a threat and who is a friend and we need to do this fast. The problem with this is it makes us form stereotypes and judgements than can be damaging. Everything that we have experienced in our lives makes us programmed to perceive events in our own special way, making us incredibly unique in the fact that every person has their own story and an individual take on the world but as a sacrifice it makes us subjective in our judgements.


In the world of work the judgements made in a recruitment assessment need to try and be as objective as possible, this doesn’t mean taking the heart out of a decision, it means not letting that heart rule the decision. Handshakes for example have always irked me, I personally like to think I have a good handshake, I like many learnt a good style, practiced it and I understand its purpose of respect in business. But then you get the soft hander or the crusher and I’ll admit it evokes a knee jerk reaction in me about that person, but what has that handshake (with 100% certainty) told me about that person or how well they do their job? I’m sorry if this bursts some bubbles but it’s Nothing. That hand crusher could be just what you need in your organisation but because of a subjective interaction they are hindered in that selection process.


Hence why for an assessment processes of a candidate certain levels of objectivity should be brought in. Psychometrics and scientific methods come into play here, they don’t care if you’ve got long hair, like the 4th Indiana Jones movie or anything for that matter; these tools will simply assess on what’s needed for the job role. Objective assessments gets straight to the stuff that actually matters about a candidate, and why tools such as psychometrics should be part of any assessment process. Nepotism, Unconscious Bias and Assessment Fatigue, all these things are limited when you bring in objective assessments.


I want to make the point that letting subjective factors deciding who goes into your business is a dangerous gamble. Of course, a purely objective assessment would be just as bad because of how inhuman it would make a company seem but what is needed is a compromise to take out the issues from both subjective and objective assessments. It’s sometimes good to take a step back from the process to allow you to see the big picture, you want the best people in your business regardless about how you feel about them.