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 Similarity-attraction - do your managers promote people who look like them?

Many organisations, despite having a strong meritocratic value system, tend to find that their managers promote people who are like themselves. This is because they are conducting performance and selection interviews from the perspective of their experience and cultural reference frameworks. This means that they are often failing to recognise talented, high potential people who are different from themselves.

It is inconsistent with a commitment to global diversity to expect that interviewees should conform to the cultural norms of the interviewer. Interviewees from more direct and low context cultures, e.g. Anglo-Saxon heritage ones, Austria, Germany, etc, are likely to deal well with questions which require them to offer evidence of their possession of desired competencies.

However, those from less direct and higher context cultures, e.g. many Asian and Latin countries, may not readily offer the information needed to demonstrate their competence. These interviewees benefit from having the opportunity to tell stories from their previous jobs and assignments to enable the interviewer to confirm particular competencies.

This viewpoint has only opened a small window into what is required of interviewers to recognise talent across cultures. Ian Dodds Consulting is experienced in cross-cultural interview training.

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