Mayor Sharon Weston Broome has done a phenomenal job in her selection of citizens to serve on the Baton Rouge Police Chief Search committee. I applaud her for the preciseness and swiftness in developing a smooth, seamless process, leading to her making the final decision.
Most impressive are the comments Broome made challenging the committee to seek “ (1) someone with a bold vision for excellence, (2) someone who understands the important role that data play in police work, (3) someone who is also very committed to truth and transparency and integrity, (4) someone who understands and can implement a 21st century model of policing, which at its core involves community policing.”
There is also another search committee with work ahead of it to bring at least three candidates to the Metro Council, who will ultimately select the next Baton Rouge Metro Airport director. I am one of seven persons chosen to serve on the committee and certainly have a vested interest in who will be serve in this position. Metro Airport is one of the economic anchors of District 2, along with the Baton Rouge Zoo, Southern University, and Howell Place. The committee will meet after the Thanksgiving holiday.
Early on, I have had reason to be concerned that the airport director selection process could easily be infected with confirmation bias. Confirmation bias in talent acquisition occurs when members of a search committee or hiring authority form an initial opinion to hire one candidate and then use the interview process as a way of confirming their predetermined choice rather than getting to know the other candidate(s).
The goal of the search committee should be to bring in the best candidates possible. Absent of confirmation bias, the committee will be able to identify, entice, and offer the best candidates in an applicant pool for further consideration. Not only can confirmation bias lead to poor hiring decisions, it creates a distorted selection process that not only affects that one candidate, but also any future candidates who will be interviewing.
As we move forward in the selection of the next airport director, I suggest we take a page out of Broome’s book in the Baton Rouge police chief search and use a scoring rubric for every interview. Identifying key skills and traits in advance on the rubric will serve as a guide for the process and ensure every candidate is evaluated based on a single standard.
We must be intentional in identifying and eliminating confirmation bias across the board.
member, Baton Rouge Metro Council