Anyone for a slice?

Welcome to 2010 and I hope that all your resolutions for the year come true!

I used the holiday period to trawl around the internet for new information about HR and the way we are all doing business in the teenies… yes, there is already a name for the new decade, now that the noughties have passed us by!

I found some interesting stuff and subscribed to a number of new HR feeds! (It has been mentioned several times how sad my life really is!)

Here’s the first interesting new theory I came across: it’s called ‘Thin Slicing’ and you can find out more by having a look at the guy who’s done the research; Malcolm Gladwell at and in his new book, Blink.

So, what’s it all about?

Well, no doubt you’ll have heard the phrase there’s never a second chance to make first impression and it takes about 30 seconds to form that first impression.

Gladwell says that this is wrong and that we make up out minds on a whole range of things almost instantaneously. He calls this ‘Thin Slicing’ and goes on to say that we do this Thin Slicing because we have to, to make sense of the huge amount of information we process every minute of every day… we analyse a lot of detail about a very thin slice of experience, which tells us an awful lot.

Of course, this process of Thin Slicing has huge ramifications across a business. It affects the way we network, build relationships and how we deal with a confrontation.

It also affects the way we recruit people, and it’s this area where we could all come unstuck.

I don’t think it will be long before we see an Industrial Tribunal, brought by someone who didn’t get a job, which says that ‘the business didn’t give me a fair interview process, in fact, they thin sliced me’!

It’s an issue that’s being taken so seriously by many orchestras, for example. Many orchestras now conduct ‘try-outs’ behind screens so it is only playing ability that is assessed and all issues of race, gender, age, size, etc. are removed from the decision.

What about in EB? What are the issues?

Well, Gladwell offers some hope. He says that simply being aware of the fact that we are Thin Slicing means it can be tackled.

In interviewing it’s important to combat the effects of Thin Slicing by making sure the interview process is a good one, that, where possible, two people interview and that you have a clear set of job based parameters you are measuring against.

He also says that our ability as humans to make judgement calls is a good thing, it saves jobs and lives!

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