Keep These Biases in Mind when Interviewing

Keep These Biases in Mind when Interviewing (downloadable pdf) by Andi Cheney for PAHRTS: A list of common interviewing biases and examples.


Contrast Effect: comparing one candidate to another instead of to the job rubric.

Example: Between Beauregard and Susiya, Susiya would be more fun to chat with.


Halo Error: letting one characteristic overshadow/influence other areas

Example: She’s very friendly. She must be good at communicating.


First Impression: allowing your first impression to be determined by job-irrelevant data upon first meeting

Example: Tabitha clearly had helmet hair and windburn. She won’t be able to maintain a professional appearance.


Unfavorable Information: weighing too heavily on one unfavorable characteristic at the detriment to other favorable characteristics

Example: Geraldo doesn’t have any WordPress experience. It doesn’t matter that he has done a similar job.


Affect Heuristic: projecting negative feelings onto a candidate based on a shared characteristic with a group you perceive negatively

Example: I’ve worked with lawyers before, and I would never hire one.


Anchoring: overly relying on the first piece of information you hear.

Example: When asked how would she solve this type of problem, she said she would research it on the internet. There is no way she could work well on a team, unless they are computers.


Availability Heuristic: only the data you can recall can be used. This is why hiring rubrics are so helpful.

Example: Did Shahar say she knew her way around a spreadsheet? I can’t recall, but I bet she does.


Blind-spot: inability to recognize your own biases.

Example: I’m not intentionally hiring all blue-eyed workers, I just haven’t had any talented brown-eyed candidates!


Confirmation: judging a candidate based on what confirms your preconceptions.

Example: Of course Vero is a hard-worker, their entire family is dirt poor.


Leniency/Severity Effect: rating candidates “harshly” or “easily” rather than fairly across the rubric.

Example: None of those candidates did very well based on Rumia’s ratings. They never do though.

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