Does the order in which candidates appear in an interview impact your hiring decision?
If this study from Old Dominion University is anything to go by, recruiters pay the most attention to the fourth candidate they interview.
Researchers found that the first candidate of an interview has around five minutes to impress an interviewer. That time slowly increases to eight minutes when it comes to the fourth candidate.
Thereafter, the time decreases with each additional interviewee.
“Our data suggest that interviewers’ transition from effortful to automatic information processing strategies may occur around the fourth interview they conduct,” the report stated.
The researchers believed this happens due to the increase in the amount of information they have to process, causing the interviewer to take mental shortcuts after the fourth candidate.
The researchers added that interviewers’ approach to decision-making may change across applicants.
For instance, some interviewers may take longer to evaluate applicants at the beginning of their interview schedule and take less time to evaluate applicants near the end of their schedule.
The report advised, therefore, that organisations may benefit from limiting the number of interviews an interviewer conducts in immediate succession.
“Scheduling breaks between interviews may reduce the extent to which interviewers rely on cognitive schema for reducing the demands of applicant evaluation,” it stated.