For job seekers, their chances of being hired may have a lot
to do with who else was interviewed on the same day, a new study suggests.
Researchers found that employers who have just interviewed
several strong candidates are more likely to view the next applicant
known as "narrow bracketing," or making choices in isolation, could
not only apply to employment, but also to school admissions, loan applications
and even casting for reality shows.
The study was published recently in the journal
How the study was
"People are averse to judging too many applicants high
or low on a single day, which creates a bias against people who happen to show
up on days with especially strong applicants," Uri Simonsohn, of the
Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, and Francesca Gino, of
Harvard Business School, explained. "We were
able to document this error with experts who have been doing the job for years,
day in and day out."
After analysing 9 000 interviews involving MBA candidates
that occurred over the course of a decade, the researchers found interviews
conducted early in the day had a negative influence on perceptions of candidates
interviewed later in the day.
Once several favourable scores were given to applicants, the
scores to follow were likely to be lower. This phenomenon held true even after
the researchers considered differences among the applicants and their
Finding in the study
On a scale of one to five, the study revealed the projected
score for applicants to be interviewed dropped by about 0.075 as the average
score for previous candidates increased by 0.75. This trend worsened for applicants
as the day progressed.
The researchers noted that this effect is the equivalent of
roughly 30 extra points on the GMAT, 23 more months of experience or 0.23 more
points in the assessment of the applicants' written application.
The study's authors added that the effect of "narrow
bracketing" was twice as large following a series of identical applicant
scores than with different scores with the same average.
The New York State Department of Labour provides more tips
for a successful job interview.