2 Cognitive Biases that cause bad hiring – Skill Test Saves Hiring Process!

2 Cognitive Biases that cause bad hiring – Skill Test Saves Hiring Process!You are currently viewing 2 Cognitive Biases that cause bad hiring – Skill Test Saves Hiring Process!

Do you trust all the “I am confident I possess all the qualities and skills this position requires” statements? The problem is not you! It’s the cognitive biases of the candidates & your subjective analysis of them.

Subjective faulty hiring processes influence hiring decisions in the worst manner possible. Interestingly, even the candidate is not conscious of this effect. According to a Statistic, about 94% of professors believe they are more skilled and accomplished than they are, having a wrong notion about their real capabilities & projection.

Cognitive biases | Recruitment | Hiring Process | Skills Test | PMaps

This phenomenon is technically called the Dunning-Kruger Effect, after its observers, David Dunning and Justin Kruger. Don’t worry…it is not as scary as it sounds. Let me help you out with understanding these cognitive biases better.


Let’s go back to your schooling age. It is natural for most children to delay completing their homework till the approach of the deadline. “I have only one chapter left” is a constant excuse. However, the moment we start our homework, it feels as if it has all accumulated and is never-ending.


The amount of work with respect to time is not known to us until we experience it. Similarly, the actual competency of the confident candidates is unknown till evaluated using the right tool.


You will always encounter at least one candidate, who says “I am very sure about my capabilities”. And “I can carry out all responsibilities”. Which may not always be true or realistic. What affects these candidates’ display of confidence?

  • You cannot cross-check them
  • They are not aware of their skills
  • They are very willing to make the most of the job opportunities

2 Cognitive Biases that Influence Hiring Decisions

Dunning-Kruger Effects

This phenomenon is one of the common cognitive biases first observed by David and Justin. They encountered the weird case of a person with a strange belief. This person mumbled, “But, I wore the juice” when asked why he robbed a bank.

McArthur Wheeler believed that lemon juice makes invisible ink. Therefore, it could also make him invisible to the CCTVs. And he robbed two banks while smiling at the surveillance cameras throughout the day.

It was only the lack of knowledge about lemon juice’s properties that encouraged his confidence. It made him think he was invisible while robbing those banks. 

The effect explains why your candidate might suffer from ‘Illusionary Confidence’ with a lack of knowledge. And underestimate themselves when they acquire relevant knowledge.

Further, after learning accurate self-evaluations an ideal candidate should be able to evaluate their skills and attitude. To make sure you hire consciously competent individuals, you must rely on scientific pre-employment assessment tools.

Imposter Syndrome

Cognitive biases | Recruitment | Hiring Process | Skills Test | PMaps

In contrast to the confident candidate’s cognitive biases, they can also be the victims of imposter syndrome. While a lack of knowledge can lead to illusionary confidence, conscious knowledge can lead to reduced levels of confidence. The imposter syndrome is a significant discovery by two psychologists, Pauline Rose Clance and Suzanne Imes in 1978.


This study typically focused on high-achieving women. However, many modern developments in psychology studies today show that it is a daily feeling for most individuals. A recent private study by Micro Biz Mag claims that 1 out of 20 individuals experiences imposter syndrome daily.

Furthermore, In The Secret Thoughts of Successful Women, Dr. Valerie Young subcategorized the imposter syndrome into 4 distinct categories. The categories are based on the undesirable habits and patterns of an individual.

Those are;

  • The Perfectionist– “Aim for gold. Anything other than that is failure”.
  • The Superwoman/man– “I can undertake all roles and responsibilities”
  • The Natural Genius– “I will complete my task with less or no effort”
  • The Soloists– “I need no help to complete my work”
  • The Experts – “I know everything and all”

Cognitive biases | Recruitment | Hiring Process | Skills Test | PMaps

PMaps Skill Test: Cross-Check Your Candidates’ Cognitive Biases

You must have encountered enough candidates who suffer from either of these conditions. If you think choosing the individual with imposter syndrome is better, this is not true!

As explained in the Dunning-Kruger Effect, not all candidates are aware of their competencies. This confident candidate phenomenon is highly common in freshers when compared with experienced candidates. While the Imposter Syndrome is a usual occurrence in the case of experienced candidates.

Your ideal candidate should be smart enough to acknowledge their limits and work on expanding them. 

While candidates evaluate & assess themselves on their abilities, you can prevent irrational hiring by switching your hiring process from the common job interview to a scientific selection test.

Psychometric assessments – your scientific tool to evaluate your applicants, filter good-quality candidates based on genuineness in behavioral disposition & their real abilities through Cognitive & Skill Assessments. Our 3 best lie scales measure the tendency to respond extremely or to remain absurdly neutral. You can also use proctors to conduct your skills assessment test more strictly and securely.

Furthermore, to eliminate optimism bias, decision-makers use behavioral interview questions. These are a collection of realistic questions based on candidates’ first-hand experience and knowledge. If by chance, the lie scales in a psychometric assessment could not catch your offender, a behavioral interview would.

The combination of scientific psychometric assessment, lie scales, proctoring and behavioral interviews, can prevent a bad hiring decision. Second thoughts about selection due to intuition, prejudice, heuristic bias, and even recruiter opinion can now take a back seat. It helps you hire the best talent among the pool of applicants.

Sum Up

We understand how valuable your time is. PMaps has brought to you the easiest way to assess candidates thoroughly and quickly. Our online assessment test can also predict the applicants’ enthusiasm to remain with the organization and their possible tenure.

This can help you prevent high employee attrition rates. Our HR Tech platform reduces hiring biases through our visual-based psychometric assessment by empirical evaluation of your candidates’ cognitive ability.

Reach out for support any time and every time you encounter hiring issues. You can also learn more about our products and services on our website.

To Know More, vist the PMaps Website or Book a Demo.


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