The High I Syndrome

One of the most common mistakes that I see made in interviewing is what I call "the high I syndrome", where people hire candidates that they like rather than people who are suited to the job they are trying to fill.

In the assessments that I use, we measure four different components – Dominance, Influence, Steadiness and Compliance:

  • Dominance, Challenge – how you respond to problems and challenges.
  • Influence, Contacts – how you influence others to your point of view.
  • Steadiness, Consistency – how you respond to the pace of the environment.
  • Compliance, Constraints – how you respond to rules and procedures set by others.

The issues with interviewing people are that we tend to identify with the people that we like, and yet these may not be the people who fit the characteristics of the job that we're trying to fill. The person who presents best and interviews the best may not be the best candidate.
Let's suppose that we are trying to hire somebody for a job that requires an introvert who likes to be left alone to follow the system. Let's also suppose that we are a high “I” – an empathetic, outgoing, friendly kind of person and that we relate best to the people who are most like us. In interviewing candidates for the position, we will gravitate most naturally to the people who are warm, friendly and outgoing and yet these are absolutely not the people best qualified for the position

The temptation is to hire the people we like best and overlook the people who are actually going to do the job the best. If you gravitate towards the superior presentation skills of people who are good communicators you will really have a problem and end up creating a department or even a whole company in the image of the person who is making the hiring decisions rather than hiring the kind of people who are needed to actually do the job day to day. 

The Four Critical Steps to Hiring

  • Establish the Profile

    Make sure that you know what talent you are trying to hire. Start from scratch and take time to define the job rather than rushing and simply rehiring the person that you are replacing.    

    The Time Edge



  • Develop the Process

    Successful hiring depends on having real choices. Write advertisements that will attract a large pool of candidates and have a process so that heavy response levels don’t stretch your resources    .

    The Time Edge

  • Grade Candidates

    You can’t afford to rush the selection process. You need to have an effective screening process and evaluate candidate skills carefully in relation to the job profile you established.

    Edge Business Essentials

  • Evaluate and Execute

    It is essential to have a robust interviewing process. You need to have candidates interviewed thoroughly and then check references and do background checks.

    The Alternative Board