A model to predict the outcome of a job interview.

Career professionals, once offered a job interview appointment, want to know the probability of being offered the advertised position.

The ability to predict the outcome of a job interview can help a candidate decide whether or not to attend the job interview or, more importantly, allows them to reflect on what aspects of the job interview they need to improve in order to increase job postings for positions that have the related skills, competencies, and confidences.

The interviewer makes hiring decisions based on logic: The analytical process of a job interview is designed to predict future job performance.

However, decision making is a two-system process. Logical part – a slower and emotional analytical process – quick judgments based on stereotypes and prejudices.

Therefore, an employee applying for the same position, within the same organizations, who gives the same level of detailed response to the same set of job interview questions may receive different scores if interviewed by two different hiring managers.

There is a two-step process for forming an applicant’s opinion in a job interview;

  • unconscious biases

  • Interview Identity

Job interview bias.

An initial impression of an applicant is created once the interviewee is introduced to the employer. The impression is emotional – a hunch, where unconscious stereotypes and prejudices affect the formation of the interviewer’s perception.

Many varied stimuli trigger an unconscious bias, some favoring an applicant, while others create a negative opinion. Research has shown how an applicant’s weight, ethnicity, age, religion, attractiveness, or background can be subconsciously used to form an opinion about the interviewee.

Having common ground can increase likeability between employer and applicant, which increases the potential score of job interview questions (affinity basis) and reciprocal likeability, liking someone more because they like you, also creates a relationship. good relationship.

Being seen as ‘attractive’ improves the hiring manager’s opinion of applicants, even increasing the level of trust they have in the applicant.

And hearing how a candidate is a strong candidate, for an internal promotion interview, can seed the idea of ​​the candidate’s suitability creating the ‘halo effect’.

Association is a powerful bias. Research into religious bias uncovered how an applicant who changed his name from ‘Mohammed’ to ‘Mo’ increased the number of interview offers he received. And age, race and gender are well documented to raise or lower each applicant’s opinion for the advertised position he is applying for.

An example of this is how women applying for traditionally male roles are seen as less suitable than a male candidate.

The power of the subconscious in a job interview.

This initial opinion is not a conscious thought. The employer, in many cases, is not aware of the unconscious bias that has come into play.

The interviewer, in the female example applying for a male job, is not sexist. Instead, unconscious bias slightly affects how the applicant is rated during the job interview. With many quotes being made about the difference of a few minor points between the successful applicant and the second choice therefore this set of points can make all the difference.

Employer reactions to a stereotype.

Some people have an ‘isum’; sexist, discriminatory by age, racist and many other isms. We group these people as aware and don’t care: If an applicant has a stimulus that the employer doesn’t like, it would be difficult to change their initial opinion of the applicant, even when evidence contradicting their belief has been presented.

Conscious and careful: this is when an unconscious bias becomes clear (the interviewer realizes that they like and dislike an applicant that is not based on logical reasoning). By being aware, the interviewer can challenge themselves (or being aware may be enough to adjust how they rate the applicant). If, for example, a recruiter made a negative opinion of a candidate based on the candidate being obsessive (a study was completed where applications were submitted with a photo of a candidate. Half were submitted with an image of an obsessive candidate and half were submitted with an image of an obsessive candidate). the other half were submitted with a picture of an “average” weight candidate. The experiment found that overweight applicants were less likely to get a job interview offer), they may ask if an applicant’s weight is important to the job in question. Or look for examples of an overweight employee who is very successful in their field.

In some cases, the stimulus has no effect on the interviewer’s decision-making process. Stereotypes and prejudices are formed through the experiences and beliefs and culture from which a person has grown up. If, for example, an employer grew up in a household where men and women were seen as equals and gender was never questioned, it would be rare for the employer to be sexist: unaware and unaffected. (but the interviewer could be affected by a second bias)

The structured job interview.

The Structured Job Interview has been designed to use an analytical process to help create a ‘fair’ job interview process.

In a structured job interview, each applicant is asked the same interview questions based on the criteria of the advertised job position. Guidance is provided to each interviewer on how to score each interview question based on the perceived level of applicants’ competencies using a numerical scoring system.

It is during the initial interview responses that applicants can help change employers’ perception of them. If, for example, the applicant’s style of dress, body language, and communication styles have created an “unprofessional” impression, the applicant has a short window to override this initial impression.

For a ‘knowing and not caring’ employer, changing a deeply held belief can be very difficult.

Analyzing people is difficult and stressful. This is why the mind draws on schemes, stereotypes and prejudices from the past, to make decision making an easier process.

Initially, the employer, at the beginning of the job interview, will consciously analyze the candidate’s verbal and non-verbal communication to guess the suitability of the interviewee based on their perceived level of knowledge/experience and confidence.

Within the first 2 interview questions, the data (opinion) received will create a new interview identity, which becomes the filter for all subsequent job interview answers. This is similar to the process behind ‘affinity bias’: an association has been made that changes how the applicant is rated within the job interview.

Interview Identity

It is the applicant’s perceived level of industry knowledge and sector experience versus their level of confidence in the interview, when combined, that forms the ‘interview identity’. This has little to do with how well an employee performs in the actual workplace; As this cannot be observed in a job interview, it is therefore how applicants’ interview performance is measured against the requirements for the advertised job position.

Interview prediction test:

To Verify Your Job Interview Identity: How an Employer Sees You, read the 4 statements under each subheading and choose the one that most closely resembles you.


Specialized experience/knowledge

4 points: more than 10 years of experience in the sector; able to draw on industry-related academic research contributing to the field

3 Points – 3-10 years of industry experience; experienced in implementing proven theories and models in business as usual

2 points – 1-3 years of relevant experience; academic level of industry knowledge with no experience in applying concepts to daily tasks

1 Point – No experience; possesses soft skills; communication, teamwork, problem solving

academic ability

4 points – Master’s – Doctoral/Postgraduate degrees (Level 7-8) Professional industry qualification (for example, a Chartered Engineer)

3 Points – Grade Level Qualification up to Bachelor’s Degree (Level 6)

2 Points – Graduate – up to Higher National Diploma (Level 4-5)

1 point – GCSE/A-Level (Level 2-3) or below

Read the following 4 statements under each subheading and choose the one that makes the most sense to you. Add both points together and for an odd number result round down to the nearest even number


Self esteem

4 Points – A self-promoter fully aware of his experience. He demands to be treated with authority and respect, and will challenge anyone with conflicting opinions.

3 Points – Believe in your ability, recognize your own skill set, and will discuss strengths when asked

2 points: Aware of both strengths and areas of development, but can easily reveal weaknesses and mistakes without prompting from others

1 point: You have a negative view of your abilities and lack self-esteem.

communication style

4 points: draw attention and dominate meetings. Complex ideas are explained clearly and competently by combining statistics with examples. Able to influence others to adopt a new point of view, using logic and reasoning to overcome barriers to objections.

3 points: Speak with authority, present ideas within a structure, and use vocal variety to maintain interest. Able to debate a technical issue, clearly arguing points while expressing your own ideas.

2 points: Can discuss a familiar topic when asked, but finds it difficult to respond when challenged. He feels tense when explaining new concepts, however, with comfortable topics he speaks clearly and varies pitch and volume.

1 Point – You feel nervous when you are the center of attention. Communication is weak due to hesitation, excessive filler words, low volume, and short, to-the-point sentences.

You will now have two figures; one indicating her knowledge/experience level and the second, her confidence level. Her combined score indicates her identity at the interview.

Once an interview identity has been chosen, a description is provided explaining how an employer views this interview identity, and its strengths and areas for development.

For a full overview of your interview identity, click on the Interview Prediction Grid.

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