Is part of your job to evaluate others? Do you conduct performance evaluations, interviews, or simply make decisions concerning others? Well, according to new research the consistency in the way you evaluate others is very inconsistent.

In the article “Why We’re Imperfect Judges”, Devon Frye, in the May/June 2021 edition of Psychology Today discusses how and when you evaluate others can change the outcomes of your decisions.

The author references the “noise” or unwanted variability in judgments that should, in theory, be identical. In Noise: A Flaw in Human Judgement, researchers Daniel Kahneman, Olivier Bisony, and Cass Sunstein explored the consequences of such mind noise on our decisional capabilities.

The researchers both examined the background of the source of the noise and how to avoid it. In their article, they discuss the factors that:

Noise is Everywhere: From judges to social workers, those who have to make evaluations and decisions are all affected by outside factors to which they are exposed.

Noise has many sources: We are taught in HR that cognitive bias from confirmation bias to the halo effect is present in the performance management and selection process, but they are more expansive than that.

Noise is costly: Most know of the impact a bad decision can make, in business from the investments we make to those we hire. 

It’s fixable: The authors recommend breaking the decision into smaller pieces to include breaking candidate qualifications into small pieces such as skill set, competencies, and interpersonal strengths. 

A recommendation is to consider using a standardized selection matrix system when conducting interviews and then stick to it. When using performance management, that a consistent system, form, and standard of performance be prescribed will improve and enhance the criteria in which employees are evaluated.  -R. Baron