Guest Blog... John Burnet... It's that horns and halo effect...

horns and halos

You are busy, they are busy.   '15- love' ... '15-All', '30-15' ... 'New balls please'.  Voicemail tennis is not the preference of either player, yet we often need to overcome a quick game in order to break the ice.

The 'horns and halo' effect is understandable... so we as recruiters and managers need to appreciate both sides in order to succeed in our quest for perfect candidate management, as well as 'non clouded judgement'.

Take the horns theory as an example.

Steve, a friendly chap; who hates broken windows (long story) has seen a cracking job to work for a market leader.  He scratches his fetching comb-over and decides he will apply through the company's website.  Two weeks pass and there is no news, so Steve decides to pick up the phone to investigate where his application is sitting.  Reception don't seem to have a clue and Steve is put through to countless contacts who are either busy or unhelpful.  First impression, is a shit one.

Maybe it's a one-off, so Steve tries again and eventually gets through to a recruiter who can help!  Subsequently an Interview is on the cards and things have shifted. However, by this point Steve quite rightly has a slightly negative perception of the business and its staff.  He's a ‘glass half-full-kinda-guy’ so plans to attend.  He arrives, 10 minutes prior to the agreed time (did I mention he didn’t receive this confirmation until the day before?) and approaches reception.  The receptionist is not expecting Steve and goes all 'Poirot' on him, asking tens of questions before phoning through.  It gets better.  The manager is held up in a meeting and arrives in reception 10 minutes late.  He approaches Steve with a feeble outstretched hand, 'Dave?'

You may think the above is a heightened fabrication of events?  It's not. This happens.

If you were Steve, how would you be feeling?  Equally for a manager, not considering all the goings-on prior to meeting him, is likely to cause him to think Steve is a frosty, defensive character, who came across too seriously - thus, potentially not hiring him based on this impression.

Let's flip this to the Halo Effect. (2nd Set, Horns leads 1 set to love...)

Steve applies online.  He gets a call within 2 days from a lively, knowledgeable recruiter, is booked in for interview and is sent all the relevant information immediately. Steve's happy and for a change can't bloody wait for the interview! He rocks up on the day, 'Good afternoon Sir, can I take your name please?'.... 'I'll just call through, in the meantime can I get you a coffee whilst your waiting?' Whether the manager is on time or ten minutes late is somewhat irrelevant as Steve now has an excellent impression of the business, is at ease and in a positive mind-set. 'Hi Steve!' 'Welcome, good journey in....'

Steve is likely to come across as a different person at interview purely based on his experience to this point - and there is now every chance he will impress and land the job.

We can avoid some negative experiences, but not all.  It's a given that not all candidates will share the same path – so what we must do as managers, recruiters and company ambassadors is be prepared for both Halo-Steve and Horn-Steve.  This awareness and consideration for what we may not see, will ultimately help in our decision making.

(1 Set All)

So, before you meet that candidate for Interview, ask yourself, "What's the score?".


John Burnet

John is recruitment manager for IT Distribution Company Computer 2000 and all round nice chap as I have written about in the past.  (To read again click here).