7 cognitive biases that screw up your interviews

A job interview is ultimately an interaction between two (or more) human beings.

So while we’d like to believe that our interviewers are immune to the psychological pitfalls that could cause them to misjudge us, they’re probably not.

Instead, they’re prone to do things like predict our professional performance based on the performance of similar people they know.

Here, we’ve rounded up seven cognitive biases that affect how your interviewer perceives you — and how likely you are to land the job.

Anchoring bias

People are overreliant on the first piece of information they hear.

In a salary negotiation, for instance, whoever makes the first offer establishes a range of reasonable possibilities in each person's mind.

Any counteroffer will naturally be anchored by that opening offer.


Expecting a group or person to have certain qualities without having real information about the individual.

There may be some value to stereotyping because it allows us to quickly identify strangers as friends or enemies. But people tend to overuse it. For example, one study found that people were more likely to hire a hypothetical male candidate over a female candidate to perform a mathematical task, even when they learned that the candidates would perform equally well.

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