Information Cascades

Suppose you’re working at a company, and your boss asks you to explain what went
wrong in a recent hiring decision. The company decided to interview two candidates
for a single job. Let’s call the two candidates A and B. A hiring committee was formed
to attend the interviews and decide which of the two candidates to hire. Everyone on
the committee was interested in making the best possible hire, but after the interview
it was clear that members of the committee had different ideas about which of the two
candidates was the best choice. When the committee met to make the final decision
they decided to go around the room and ask each person on the committee to announce
which of the two candidates they believed to be the best choice for the company. In
fact, everyone on the committee said that candidate A seemed to be the best choice,
so the offer was made immediately to candidate A without additional discussion.
Now that candidate A has worked for the firm for a while it is clear that candidate B
would have been a better choice.
(a) Your boss has asked you to explain how the committee members could have
unanimously supported candidate A when she was reasonably certain that before
the committee meeting at least some of the members of the committee thought
that B was probably the best choice. What can you tell her?
(b) Can you suggest another procedure that the committee could have used that would
have revealed the initially differing opinions about the candidates and which might
have resulted in the actually better choice of candidate B?

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