The Truth about Everyone Lying during a Job Interview

What do you think is the most appropriate way to select candidates? 

If you tend to favor attractive appearances in candidates, then YOU or Your team are likely to fall prey to the GREEN LUMBER FALLACY. This is an unconscious cognitive bias that leads people to make judgments based on the perceived similarity of an object to a category or prototype, rather than on actual data or evidence. 

This  fallacy explains why Einstein could not pass an entrance test but was proficient in developing unbeatable theories of physics. 

And why Abdul Kalam was once rejected by the  Services Selection Board (SSB), but turned into the leader of the Army, as the President  of India. 

If such eminent personalities could be a victim of this Green Lumber Fallacy, imagine how poorly it might affect your hiring decisions! 

Due to this fallacy, recruiters believe that a person with higher knowledge will be able to perform better, irrespective of their skills. 

But what is the Green Lumber Fallacy and how can you avoid making such biased decisions?

In layman’s terms, the Green Lumber Fallacy is a human tendency to prioritize irrelevant information or knowledge over a much-required skill. This fallacy was first discovered and explored by Nassim Nicholas Taleb.  

In his book Antifragile: Things That Gain From Disorder, Taleb  explains how Joe Siegel, a meritorious trader takes advantage of the extrinsic value portrayed by ‘green lumber’ (Green lumber is freshly cut lumber, untreated lumber) and makes huge profits. 


In contrast, the traders who sold ‘Treated Lumber’ with higher intrinsic value failed in their businesses. They could not understand what drove Joe’s success. It was not the lumber that people were interested in, it was Joe’s extraordinary sales skills

The fallacy drives employers to make irrational hiring decisions. This ultimately leads  to a talent gap in your organization. But not everyone can be Joe Seigel, therefore you need to take those blinds off and assess and hire your candidates objectively. 

Some Other Consequences of the Green Lumber Fallacy in recruitment are:

How can you eliminate the Green Lumber Fallacy? Is there a way out? Yes!!

You may always experience human biases when decision-making comes into play. Hence, modern hiring tools focus  on the enhancement  of candidate assessments. Using these assessments, you can eliminate these irrational biases and make fair and objective hiring decisions.

You can do this by:- 

You can explore the solutions to combat the green lumber fallacy through our latest blog Behavioral & Skills Assessment Test For Better Hiring Process. Hiring the right candidate is the first step to developing a productive team. We wish  the best of luck to you and your team for effective hiring during this financial year!