Humans are innately subjective, filled with unconscious bias and we allow our emotions to navigate us when we don’t understand a new situation or person. We like what we already are familiar with, which can be intimidating for an insecure candidate who’s going to their first job interview. Even though most recruiters are aware that they have preconceived opinions, most are unconscious bias and can therefore still affect the hiring decisions.

10 scary facts on how biases can affect the job interview 

1. First impression

It only takes 7 seconds to make an impression. 7 seconds. This means before the candidate even says hi to the recruiter, the unconscious mind will start to process information. Making presumptions and judgments about a person you just met is your unconscious bias kicking in.

2. Male-favoring bias

When evaluating competence, studies show that both men and women show male-favoring bias. Usually, women are seen as warm, nurturing, communal and kind. But even if most people view women more positively than men, we perceive men to be more competent when it comes to performing well at a job.

3. Shy candidates 

Confidence is a really big factor when it comes to being successful at a job interview. According to a study, 20% of recruiters said that candidates who sat with their arms crossed during their meetings were not considered for the job since their body language reflected their lack of confidence.

4. Stressed hiring decisions

A study with 2000 managers showed that 33 % of hiring managers decided whom they wanted to hire within only 90 seconds. Making that first minute and a half the most important moment during the whole job interview. Additional data show that 60% of interviewers decide on a candidate within 5-15 minutes.

5. Candidates' appearance and handshake

A recent study highlighted that 55% of recruiters and managers would reject a job applicant based on their handshake. The same study stated that 50% of recruiters would be affected if they didn’t like the candidates’ clothes or thought the interaction before the interview felt awkward.

6. Poor eye contact and a bad voice = no job

During the actual job interview, 65% of managers said they would reject a candidate if they couldn’t keep eye contact and 40% wouldn’t select an applicant just because of their voice. These might be things you can’t change but it’s important to be aware of the impact it has.

7. Discrimination based on looks

According to a study made by Swedish recruitment and staffing agency TNG, 73% of applicants say they have experienced discrimination during a job interview. 24% claim it was because of their appearance and 64% say it was their age.

8. The interview order

The order of the interview can also have a big effect. Being the fourth person interviewed seems to offer the best chance of having a fair evaluation. Being interviewed late in the day after a long series of other people will definitely hurt a candidate's chances to get the job!

9. Body language

According to a new study by LinkedIn, soft skills are crucial to focus on if you want to be successful at a job interview. The study shows that recruiters are struggling to objectively assess soft skills with 41% claiming they lack objective tools to evaluate a candidate’s competence. The study also says 70% of recruiters, therefore, assess soft skills based on the candidates’ body language.

10. Preserving the status quo

Change is uncomfortable and recent numbers show that 95% of CEOs are white men. The status quo bias is leading board members to unconsciously prefer to hire more white men for leadership roles. Understanding how unconscious bias affects our decisions is crucial to discovering competent and diverse leaders!

Pretty scary statistics… What did we miss? Let us know and we will add it to the list!

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