Steel Mountain Services

The Bias Scale: Prevent Your Biases From Hiring a Psychopath

Introducing the Bias Scale

The Bias Scale is a tool we developed to help decision makers like interviewers and investors visually see how their biases could be influencing their judgement when assessing a candidate.

It is completed either during or immediately after an interview and produces a weighting to contextualize all their other data points.

Why you Need a Bias Scale

We all have biases and make assumptions about people. These assumptions aren’t necessarily bad, they simply act as shortcuts that reduce the work our brains have to do, allowing us to make quicker and easier decision throughout the course of the day. However, by prioritizing decision-making speed, we sacrifice accuracy. One of the main short-cuts our brain takes to determine the worth of other people is assuming likeability is the same thing as competency.

Imagine interviewing two different people:

  • Someone charismatic, confident, and gregarious; they know the right things to say and when to say them in order to win your trust. They know exactly where to draw your attention in their history to inflate your opinion of them, and can charm away the gaps that would otherwise be concerning.
  • A quiet, considered introvert; they are less aware of the needs and expectations you haven’t communicated, and don’t quite feel comfortable drawing attention to what their references would consider outstanding achievements.

In this scenario, most people would choose the charismatic person, almost irrespective of the job requirements. Unfortunately, this is also the profile of a psychopath. Just because someone knows how to sell themselves well does not make them a worthwhile hire, and taking this mental shortcut can lead to seriously suboptimal decisions. This may sound like an extreme example but our brains make countless assumptions like this every day.

How to use the Scale

We’ve designed a quick little tool that you and your panel can use either during or immediately after a meeting to give you a visual picture of the lens you are subconsciously applying to the person.

You can download it here.

  • If your scale is high, then you are probably seeing your candidate through “rose-tinted glasses”. You are likely going to be more impressed than is reasonable by their accomplishments and values, and will over estimate the value they can offer.
  • If the scale is low, then you are probably undervaluing your candidate. You may be paying inadequate attention to the things they are saying, or otherwise unfairly dismissing this person. You are likely to be underestimating the value of their potential contributions.

In all situations, take another look at the actual facts with the scale’s results in mind and see if your opinion of the candidate’s potential changes.

How to Make Decisions Without Bias

It’s next to impossible to make decisions completely without bias, and not all assumptions are bad, but by understanding the lens through which we view the world, we are able to account for how our brains are twisting our perception of the world, allowing us to make more accurate decisions. More accurate decisions lead to better, more cost-effective hires, and to more lucrative investment decisions. We have created a complete set of Bias Tools Tools designed to reduce the impact your biases have on your decisions during your interviews. Download the Bias Tools below, or click here to read more about them.


Would you like us to train you and your team how to better assess candidates? We teach workshops around the world to companies and investors on how to better assess candidates and increase profits by reading and understanding people better. Contact us at biastools[at]

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