Career and Enterprising

Overcoming The Common Interviewer Biases

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An interview for a possible job opportunity or salary increase is ultimately founded by an interaction between two or more individuals. Due to the nature of human behavior, both the interviewer and the interviewee are subjected to Psychological biases and errors.

What my background in Psychology has taught me is that these biases can be conquered. Awareness of the different biases is the first step!


In Psychology, affect refers to the person’s overt display of feelings and emotions while heuristic allows people to make judgements swiftly and efficiently. Putting these two together will produce the Affect Heuristic. The Affect Heuristic is an error in judgement due to interpreting the world based on the person’s current mood.

For instance, if the interviewer had a horrible day due to domestic conflicts then, he or she may project negative feelings onto you. 

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This error goes hand-in-hand with the negativity bias. Negativity bias happens when individuals give more emphasis on the bad experiences rather than the good ones. Hence, you have to be careful with the pattern of your feelings and thoughts!


As the name suggests, Confirmation Bias is the tendency to listen solely to the information that approves one’s preconceptions.

Say your parents instilled the idea that superior employees are products of local universities only. As an interviewer, you encountered aspirants who graduated from private schools such as PSB Academy and EASB. You may be more inclined to apply your preconceptions to make false judgements about their abilities.

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Spend a substantial amount of time in evaluations to overcome this bias and increase rater’s accuracy.


Anchoring Bias is the tendency of some people to rely heavily on the first piece of information they receive. For instance, you are negotiating your salary. The first offer that you make will establish a spectrum of “reasonable” possibilities and the following counteroffers will be anchored by that initial offer.

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Negotiating a salary is a conversation that aims to reach an agreement with someone whose interests are not perfectly aligned with yours. Make your first offer count despite of the Anchoring Bias by researching all the necessary information such as the average pay for your position.


Contrast Effect is the “magnification or reduction of perception as a result of previous exposure to something of lesser or greater quality”. A candidate who understands the essence of this effect will immediately volunteer after a poor candidate in order for his or her ratings to be optimum.

Reduce the Contrast Effect by delegating a standardized criteria where you base your decisions on. Thus, your interviews, discussions, and evaluations must all be structured.

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May you apply your knowledge of these common cognitive biases to your next interview! 🙂

Sources:  1 & 2

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