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(2005, p. A16) indicates that lying is often a function of the structure of
the brain. The study reports that a group of compulsive liars was found to
have 26% more white matter and 14% less gray matter in the frontal cor-
tex of the brain. “Lying is congenitally complex. It is not easy to lie. It is
certainly more difficult than telling the truth. Some people have a biolog-
ical advantage in lying. It gives them an edge” ( Hotz, 2005 , p. 16A).
Gladwell (2005) discusses the instant decisions we make and the biases
behind them. The author points out that some of us are able to read faces
and determine whether someone is lying at a very high level of accuracy.
It's always a good idea to include these people in search committees. It's
also important to know that instant judgments about applicants can often
be based on an unconscious bias. The bias might include people of color,
gay and lesbian candidates, or applicants whose appearance is pleasing or
displeasing to us, and it can dangerously skew perceptions and result in
dismissing very good applicants. Gladwell cautions against instant judg-
ments and suggests that we take time in forming opinions so that an
immediate perception of an applicant doesn't bias our judgment of the
applicant's potential performance as a new worker.
The Stress Interview
I (Glicken) was asked to develop a group “stress interview” to help select
graduate social work students during a period when applications were
insanely high and we were having trouble choosing students for admission
purely on the basis of their paperwork (grades, application letter, and
references). A small committee made up of faculty and field instructors
conducted the interviews, which were to last 3 hours and included 15
students in each group. We first agreed on what we were looking for in
applicants: good eye contact; a willingness to participate; a focus on the
student being a helper and not a victim; a realistic and positive helping
philosophy and a good reason to become a social worker (to help people
help themselves, for instance); good body language (no slouching or other
indications of boredom or anxiety); intelligent responses and a willingness
to give honest answers, even if they took some luster away from the per-
son's chances.
We did use the paperwork as well but, with the addition of the inde-
pendent rating and evaluations of the three raters, we had over a 90%
agreement rate among raters regarding who did well in the interviews
and who should be admitted. When all three raters agreed at a high level,
the success rate of
the students was phenomenal. Our highest-rated
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