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November 27, 2022
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Which card or cards do you have to flip over to test the assumption that if a card shows an even number on one face, then its opposite face is red?
The correct answer is “6+yellow”
If you got it wrong, don’t feel bad about yourself, it happens to most people as this is “Confirmation Bias” in play.
We flip 6 since if it’s red on the other side that will confirm the assumption.
We tend to flip red but actually, there’s no reason to since no one said that behind every red should be an even number.
Most of us do not consider flipping over the yellow card, although if we found an even number on its other side that would disprove our hypotheses.
In the interview context, Confirmation bias makes us assign more weight to information that confirms our initial premises and neglect information that disproof it.
For example, think about candidates that come from specific universities or previous companies (Google for example). A lot of time we have pre-conceived notions of them: “If they worked/studied at XX then they are probably…”. In a lot of cases, this will make us go easy on them on certain aspects of the interview that for other candidates we would deep dive into much further.
So what can you do?
Before interviewing a candidate ask yourself: “What are my assumptions about this candidate”?
Write those down on a piece of paper so they would be in front of you throughout the interview.
Make sure you also collect information/document notes about things that don't align with your initial assumptions. For example - if you believe a candidate has strong attention to detail since they majored in a specific domain in university, but on the interview itself, they respond very high level to some questions and neglect to refer to different aspects of your question. Don’t just ride this off with “they were probably stressed” - make sure to document this and take it into account in your final evaluation.

#informedecisions #bias

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