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A Case Study on the Perception and Handling of Distortion Caused by Biases in Employment Interviews

Written by Miguel Carnero and Jesse Hagenouw, Germany.

Lund University

School of Economics and Management

Master’s Programme in Managing People, Knowledge & Change

“Reading between the lines” A case study on the perception and handling of distortion caused by biases in employment interviews.

Author: Miguel Carnero Cano and Jesse Hagenouw

Supervisor: Anna Jonsson

Examiner: Stefan Sveningsson

Date: May 2017


Aim: The aim of this thesis is to explore and understand how professional recruiters perceive and handle distortion caused by biases in employment interviews, and thereby to contribute towards literature in the fields of Recruitment and Selection and Human Resource Management.

Methodology: This thesis concerns an abductive study in which we conduct qualitative research by utilizing a holistic single case study design. The empirical basis for this research was a case study at a globally recognized recruitment firm, in which we conducted twelve semi structured interviews with a diverse sample of professional recruiters.

Keywords: Recruitment, Employment Interview, Biases, Distortion, Knowledge, Knowledge Management, Innovation.

Theoretical Fields: This study primarily contributes to the research fields of Recruitment and Selection and Human Resources Management. Moreover, this study also provides insights for fields such as Personnel Management, Organizational Behavior and Managerial Psychology.

Conclusion: We found that recruiters are overconfident in their ability to perceive distortion yet lack the self awareness to realize that they inflict distortion themselves. We also found that there is no ‘one size fits all’ solution to handling distortion caused by biases, there are however some prerequisites to improve the handling of distortion caused by biases in interviews, both in character traits of the recruiter as well as in interview design.

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