Bias in Job Interviews

Job interviews are an integral element of organizations’ practices in recruiting new employees. Ideally, the purpose of a job interview is to obtain employees who possess the right knowledge, abilities, and skills to help the company in achieving its goal and vision (Spielman, Jenkins & Lovett, 2020).

However, conducting a job interview is not an easy task, even with clear standards and criteria. This is because in some instances, attaining a high score does not necessarily mean that a candidate is suitable for the position. Spielman et al. (2020) cite a case of a college graduate applying for a job with the Connecticut police force but was denied the job because of attaining a very high score.

The reason given by the employer was that the applicant was overqualified and would thus find the job too boring. This example illustrates the presence of bias in job interviews. Precisely, it shows that in some cases, employers already have preconceived ideas that guide their decisions and approach during job interviews. Without doubt, such preconceived ideas will affect the fairness of the interview process.

To reduce bias in interviews, several recommendations are made. Firstly, employers should strive to use structured interviews whenever possible. When interviewing candidates for a single job position, questions asked should be the same for all candidates in order to minimize affinity bias (Tulshyan, 2022).

Secondly, employers are encouraged to score interviews and candidates right away instead of waiting to do this at the end of the day or week. This helps to reduce recency bias, which simply refers to the tendency to remember information from the most recent events (Sutton, 2014).

Bias may also be minimized by using multiple interviewers so as to reduce the ‘like me’ effect- the tendency of people to be impressed with people who appear similar to them (Sutton, 2014).

I have witnessed both positive and negative bias in job interviews, but one that stands out for was a positive one. I got my very first job through the referral of my cousin, who was a very close friend to the human resource manager.

Naturally, my cousin gave a very positive report about me to the HR manager prior to my being called for the interview. Among six applicants, I was selected for the job despite having only a high school certificate. I later realized that the HR manager’s decision to hire me was largely informed by the positive report my cousin gave him about me. In my case, halo bias was evident.


Spielman, R., Jenkins, W. & Lovett, M. (2020). Psychology 2e. OpenStax.

Sutton, A. (2014). Work Psychology in Action. Macmillan International Higher Education.

Tulshyan, R. (2022). Inclusion on purpose: An intersectional approach to creating a work culture that works for all. MIT Press.

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