I was asked this question by a management student in my recent seminar held last week in Mumbai, the discussion that ensued was noteworthy and hence I wish to share it with all.

Does corporate hiring happen unbiased??

I do not know whether the questioner was aware of the depth of the question he had asked and the tremendous impact of human involvement in the corporate hiring process.

Thousands of speakers and authors have addressed topics concerning, how to face an interview, the latest trends and tricks and tools of getting through an interview.
One area that has got minimal or has been completely ignored is the effect of EGO of the interviewer.

The interviewer may be anybody, an HR Executive, an HR Manager, the CEO, the Director or any individual. That does not matter. The very basic thing to be understood here is that the interviewer has to be a responsible human being. He has to have the ability to take the responsibility of his organizations goals, values, vision and ethics. He is like a crucial gatekeeper. This gatekeeper decides who will get in and who will stay out. Hence the gatekeepers role (the interviewer) is very vital and of utmost importance. Infact his decision to a great extent influences the success or failure of the organization in this competitive world.

Thousands of organizations categorically state - "Employees are our greatest asset". True, very true, and these assets are directly chosen by the gatekeeper. However, it would be very hard or even impossible to get any interviewer to confess that his decision of hiring or rejection was not influenced by his/ her EGO or perceptions or values. Either they are in complete denial or they are ignorant about the lasting impact.

What has been happening in the corporate world and management schools in simple words is that, they were teaching us to wear huge masks, so tough masks that it would be impossible for the interviewer to penetrate inside and discover the real self. Various ways to groom, present yourself and even how to display your key skills to the interviewer are taught as part of the curriculum. They teach that perceptual experts have arrived at a conclusion that we have 6 seconds to make a first impression, 2 minutes to create an impact and so on. That is the visual side of perception and that’s perfectly OK. Personal Hygiene, Clothes, Hair, Shoes etc etc should be managed in certain prescribed manner.

That’s one side of the coin, now the other side.

Having been involved in thousands of interviews I think I have seen a lot : attitude, violent, alcohol, facial tattoos, fanatics etc. Still, the importance of an interviewer's perception is an interesting one. Those of us who conduct interviews are humans for sure. We definitely have our perceptions : the good, bad and ugly.

It is still not an accepted fact in the corporate world that an interview is a two-way process. The EGO stands so rock like in this process that the success of the interview totally depends upon the level to which the interviewers EGO get satisfied. The basic truth is that the interviewer starts inferring about the candidate through various perceptional filters that are unique to himself. The interviewers Perceived values, his mother tongue, his caste, his religion, his nationality or the state he hails from, his gender etc influences his decision. He assesses the candidate from these filters and simply passes on his choice. Only if the candidate breaks through these filters, does he get an opportunity to deliver in life.

To become a successful and truthful interviewer, one has to drop the EGO. For thousands of years, the eastern philosophers and mystics have been emphasizing on dropping your EGO. To know your inner self, to experience the truth, the very basic thing in life is to drop the EGO. From Gautama Buddha to Chogyam Trungpa to Lao Tzu, their teachings conclude on the same path - Drop your EGO.

It is worth mentioning the most often used statement by Sri Ramana Maharshi to his seekers - Who am I ?? He says : The thought ,Who am l ? will destroy all other thoughts and finally kill itself also.

I happened to read an article in a leading newspaper last week, the title covered a statement, "recruiters today aren’t going to make the process an easy one for you"
I read on, how many leaves do you see in the tree outside? How many people in your batch wear spectacles? How many steps have you climbed on the way to this office? These were the questions that were asked by the latest, so called innovative interviewers.

I am yet to find any innovativeness in those questions. Those questions have simply emanated from someone’s EGO and they expect someone to appreciate that ego borne question and tag that as innovative. Why would a job seeker count the leaves on a tree to get a job?? Even if that poor candidate had counted the number of leaves, this egoist would ask him the next question then - How many green and how many yellow?? How many on the ground and how many on the tree?? What is innovative in that question?? And this question was asked by the Head of Human Resource. That was simply a dead question, no life in it.

Such incidences are very common, and more the seniority of the interviewer, more hardcore ego driven questions can be expected. They all seem to be on an EGO trip. The new Maruti A-Star advertisement is a classic. Four to Five veterans on an interview table in a typical corporate format, each person asks a question on a subject he has specialized in, to the job seeker. The job seeker like a goat in a butcher’s hand simply nods a NO each time to all these interviewing lords. In the end, when they express dissatisfaction and a rejection filled facial gesture, he piles up courage and says, can I ask you'll a question?? They said yes, please ask, and he asked - Was this interview for you'll to tell me what you know or to understand what I know?? That was terrific, yes that’s very true and this is happening in the whole world. They older one gets, the more knowledgeable he is – Claims his EGO. This is one of the great problems in the corporate world. Understand this fact that one can get lost in knowledge without knowing anything about the reality. He may know all the theories, all the philosophies, but he is just a blind man who knows everything about light but has not seen the light himself.

Now one more -
The same article states: In a different interview setting, candidates were asked to express their opinions on the increasing significance of brain drain .While most candidates kept harping on the need for better facilities and the lack of government grants for research, etc to keep the best brains in our country, one of them blurted, ‘It considerably increases the marriage prospects of those who have moved abroad’ as one of the key reasons! “And from there on, a very serious discussion was won over by just looking at the problem from a very non-traditional point of view. Yes, the candidate got selected!”

Now is that innovative?? One joker blurted out a statement, and just because he made others laugh that instant, he was selected. In that case all circuses will find a serious dearth of clowns in their business; since all the jokers would see themselves on a corporate chair working in typical air conditioned cabins. I am not against humour, but what has humour to do with a job? Except for a stand-up comedian role. If that was the criteria of selection for a software professional, the interviewer would have missed a candidate who is exceptionally good at logics.

The very basic lesson, every interviewer should understand and deliver is that, his main objective of his/ her interviewing is not to satisfy is self EGO, but to identify if the organizations goal and the candidates individuality is in congruence. Drop your self perceptions and EGO, simply be a witness to the process. Try and explore the candidate’s individuality, a process exploring his upbringing, his leadership affinity, his flexibility to life and experience in a team and many more contributors of a person’s individuality. Exploring his individuality will help screening him without any masks; you can explore his true self to a great extent. If the congruence happens, then the deserving candidate is in, a new productive pillar is identified and added to the edifice of the corporate structure.

Success is embedded in the system now - Go ahead, hire the best !!!!

For more articles on self improvement, follow me at www.mentora.in and Transforming Lives – Unlimited | A journey in search of Individuality

Submitted by : Mathew Thomas ( Mentora Champion) is a passionate Trainer, Motivational Speaker and Educational Coach who has worked with a wide range of clients including multinational organisations, education bodies, professional training providers and individuals.

From India, Mumbai

Attached Files
File Type: doc Interviewing_ego.doc (46.0 KB, 523 views)

Please post this in the inspirational category. This would not only help the HR professionals, but every person who reads this article.
From India, Mumbai
Hello Ma'am
Please can you help me with the details of your interviewing style.
How do you explore a persons individuality ??
I would definitely like to learn your technique.
I want to be different.

From India, Mumbai
I had the same thought coming to my mind several times in my 15 yr career, but somehow could not put it in words like this. This is a superb article from a very bold and knowledgable mind for sure. Please add me to your post, my email is
From India, Mumbai
Hi There!

Indeed a good article & well worked upon though I might not fully agree with you.

Certainly the Ego has to be kept aside while interviewing as the hiring is for the organization so indeed it's aim & motives should be kept in mind. At times, it happens that usually interview is a time where you get only the filtered information from the candidates but apparently that's not what you're looking for you want the information which makes the candidate fit for firm technically as well as other aspects as well which are equally important. Quoting your lines where you mentioned that questions such as how many stairs you climbed or how may leaves to count or humor etc, might sound looks like ego, but they have all the way different significance altogether. Nobody expects to answer that kind of question right not even the interviewer knows the answer (most of the times) but its just the way you perceive that question & you tend to answer the question that makes to difference. That where your psycology to various things is studied & matter. If anybody asks a direct question fro the same would never get an honest answer (most of the times) but the altered one.

A true HR person will always analyze such question, before asking & answers. It's true that-" Recruiters today aren’t going to make the process an easy one for you" because it's not easy for them as well to look for a right kind of pick among all the potential folks where these little things only make a difference.

Nonetheless, this is a big issue mainly when a candidate is hired for the same profile as you're i.e HR. Undoubtedly, unbiased interview is the must & should be the call else HR person might satiate his/her prerequisites but not necessarily the organization's which is not the right call.

P.S- Loved your quoting of the Ad :) Too Good!!

From India, Chandigarh
Such an terrific article...

I agree to the EGO factor which HR carry.I have personally felt this,years back in my career start days...i have attended an interview with one of the most prestigious organizations,the HR manager sat with me and interview started with tell me about yourself kinda stuff...no sooner he started asking me..all inappropriate questions...

1) wht's your height? weight?

2) do you think this is the right dress you wore for the interview..

I answered him patiently but back of mind i was thinking why was he asking about my weight nd al....he then started saying are you sure of your heigh and weight...i then i said to myself enough of this non sence and left his room giving him a straigh umpleasant look.....

unless and untill you feel it is the right question you can answer else we can always slap them with a straight ans.These days HR feels that they are GOD of the organization ,they feel so imp...but they should understand that it is the other way round....HR stands only because of employees...they are bridge between management and employees...they should maintain a healthy relationship .......HR needs to be educated/taught better manners for betterment of organizations


From India, Mumbai
Hi Swapna5..... I really appreciate your expression of anger in your statements when some nonrelevant questions posed to you during your past interviews. I think you can find the answers in AxitaMetha post. It is kind of psychological questions testing your patience and determination and analyzing your facial expression how you answer this kind of questions....I feel there is a real meaning behind every question asked during the interview. An interviewer does not ask simply a question without a motto behind I feel. You can accept or reject my claim but this is what I personally feel after I read through your statements.
From India, Chennai
Thanks for your appreciation niraj.
but i strongly feel,HR these days doesnt carry any motto behind while taking an interview,firstly i feel they themselves are poor at the subject on which interview is being taken and how do we expect them to make it tougher for us....i reiterate...HR guys need to be taught better manners.

From India, Mumbai
Dear Swapna,

You can divide HR people into 2 streams. One who have chosen this profession by choice, interest & to make a career in this & 2nd is who just wishes to be HR, enjoy the perks & leave office on time. Now if you talk about the latter it's definitely not the one i'll be taking about.

Why do you expect an HR to be technically sound for the interview? Understanding of basics must be there but if it has be technically sound as well then why would be HR? You have to understand that one cannot sail in two boats. HR person in the interview is not interested in your technical & subject oriented stuff. The HR will always go for & receives the filtered candidates who are technically sound.

The role of HR is here to see are you a fit for the organization or not? They are not interested in your IQ but your EQ. That's where an HR needs to know a candidate & undoubtedly which can only be done through 2 way communication.

But here I do not deny that all the questions asked are relevant & do not support the way questions were put to you. Being a Human Resource, it's the duty of the HR to know the dividing line between interview questions & intruding in somebody's privacy.

No good HR would ever make you feel uncomfortable at an interview even if you're put forth with personal queries. That's where the EQ comes into play & that's why it is important.

Best Wishes,


From India, Chandigarh
I totally agree with your comments Axita as may know by now i am talking about the latter’s crowd. Swapna.
From India, Mumbai

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