Assumptions in short-listing and interviewing

Case Study: Finding out more about candidates for interview

Assumption are made on regular basis in or professional and family life about people and things. Whenever we want to solve a problem, assumption are made about the probable solutions and the way to get towards them (Proctor, 1999, p. 141). These assumptions are art of our cognitive processes that make us believe that there is a short route towards our goals if we assume this and that. These assumptions sometimes work and get us what we want and sometimes they miserably fail us.

Short-listers and interviewers also make assumptions when they are faced with a task to assess people for job appointments. These assumptions are sometimes resulted by simplistic thinking. In some cases when huge piles of documents are to be processed, assumptions are preferred instead of processing all the materials (Lewis and David, 1998).

In the following discussion I would like to list assumptions made by short-listers and interviewers.

List the various assumptions that short-listers might make about candidates for jobs when the latter are completing application forms.

Assumptions made by short-listers:

  1. They might assume that the experience stated by the candidates is false. This would affect the candidate in a negative way and limit his/her chances to get the job.
  2. An assumption about the references to be false could be made without thoroughly checking it.
  3. Assumptions can be made due the stated nationality or religions (sometimes required on job applications). If stereotypical assumptions are made that lead to negative side, this would affect the chances of the candidate to get the job.
  4. Short-listers might assume that the application is not filled by the candidate due to differences of writing types in the applications.

Do the same for assumptions made about interviewees by interviewers.

Assumptions made by the Interviewers:

  1. Looking at good communication skills of the candidates during the interview, the interviewer might assume that the applicant is technically fit for the job without any technical assessment.
  2. If the candidate for a job is from a specific ethnic group, the interviewee might assume that he/she is not eligible for the job because there is a stereotype about the ethnic group that they are good at the jobs they do.
  3. The interview might have made up his/her mind because he has read a CV and already made a decision based on assumption that were caused after reading the CV.
  4. The interviewer makes judgmental assumptions about the behavior of a candidate. The interviewer might just assume that a candidate is angry or upset.

How would you proceed to use this information to gain further insights into the problem? Illustrate your answer.

I would like to conclude the discussion by stating that we need to be careful while making simplistic assumptions about just anything. It could be our personal relations an issue at our job place. Assumption might provide us with a reason to further analyze our thesis about a problem. Techniques like Assumption smashing, assumption reversal and looking for other alternatives (Proctor, 1999, p. 142-144) could enable us to generate more ideas instead of acting on the instincts generated by the assumption alone. Changing our concept about certain things would prevent us from viewing the problem from a fixed point, a fixation caused by assumptions.



Lewis, David D. “Naive (Bayes) at forty: The independence assumption in information     retrieval.” Machine learning: ECML-98. Springer Berlin Heidelberg, 1998. 4-15.

Proctor, T. (1999). Creative problem solving for managers (2nd ed.). London: Routledge.