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Screening Applicants Job Applicants Job Interviews Stereotyping

Earlier this week, I interviewed an applicant who was well qualified for a marketing position that we are trying to fill. The interview was in the early afternoon, and since this applicant had bloodshot eyes, I wonder if he might have a drinking problem. Another manager who also interviewed him said I am making a mistake, but I have a real concern about this.

When it comes to job interviews, there are numerous stereotypes about peopleís eyes that are truly shortsighted. To even think about making a hiring decision on the basis of bloodshot eyes is unfair to the applicant as well as to your company.

There can be any number of totally innocuous reasons behind a personís bloodshot eyes, including the wind, allergies, a sleepless night, a cold, rubbing oneís eyes, a bout of recent sneezes, or dry eyes, to name just a few. While itís true that excessive drinking may contribute to this condition, there is no reason to automatically assume that your applicantís bloodshot eyes are due to some extra shots at lunch.

And further, the fact a person has clear eyes is no reason to assume that he or she is a teetotaler. With a few eye-drops, just about anyone can have clear eyes, whether a drinker or not.

The key point is to take a careful look at each applicantís work history, skills, and training, and take some job-related references as well. It is important to keep an eye out for the better applicants, while making sure that you do not focus on factors that have nothing to do with success on the job.

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