Biases in interview scheduling

by Jul 11, 2023

Biases in interview scheduling

Here are 3 factors impacting biases in interview scheduling


Does the order in which candidates are placed in interview scheduling matter? Yes, it does. There are three key biases that can impact hiring decisions that recruiters and hiring managers need to pay attention to.  Hiring managers are more likely to remember candidates they interview first and last. Candidates however in the middle of the programme are more likely to be forgotten, unless the recruitment system makes plans to mitigate against bias in the schedule.

3 factors impacting biases in interview scheduling.

1. Primacy bias

Primacy bias is the tendency to easily recall information that we encounter first. When we read a long list of items, we are more likely to remember the first few items at the top of the list than the items in the middle. The primacy effect suggests that the first candidate interviewed may have an advantage because they make the initial impression on the interviewers. Interviewers may compare subsequent candidates to the first one they encountered, leading to a potential bias in favour of the first candidate.

Worth a read: Diverse recruitment practices for hiring managers – 3 Plus International

2. Recency bias

Recency bias is a cognitive bias that favours recent events or information received over historic ones or established information. In the hiring process, it suggests that the most recent candidate interviewed may make a greater impact on the interviewers and have a higher approval ranking.


Biases in interview scheduling

3. Contrast effect

The contrast effect occurs when interviewers compare candidates directly to each other rather than evaluating them based on absolute criteria, that is the requirements of the job posting. An interviewer may be influenced by the qualities or performance of the candidates who were interviewed before or after those in the middle.

Worth a read: How to spot red flags in the hiring process – 3 Plus International

Systemic Adjustments

It is essential for all involved in the hiring process to be aware of these potential biases and to take steps to mitigate their impact. Interview organisers should use strategies such as randomising the interview order across multiple steps in the process, using a structured interview process, and standardised benchmarking criteria to offset the influence of order-related biases.

  • Systemic changes and nudges at different points can help overcome the inherent biases in interview scheduling. This includes focusing on objective assessment criteria,
  • Consistent evaluation standards based on the requirements of the role. This is why a realistic job posting is so important
  • Interviewers should refrain from sharing their impressions to avoid influencing each other and conformity bias – especially if one is more senior. The days of “Have a word with Pete  – he’s a really good candidate” should be archived.
  • Create a mid-point review with a clear break in the process to evaluate all neutrally.
  • Overall review measuring candidates against the criteria set in the job description.


Interview schedulers at all levels (even recruitment admin) need to be aware of these bias traps to ensure a consistently inclusive process for all candidates.


Tackle these issues in your organisation head-on by changing the way you approach recruitment so get in touch today

Dorothy Dalton Administrator
Dorothy Dalton is CEO of 3Plus International. A specialist in diversity and bias conscious executive search, she supports organizations to achieve business success via gender balance, diversity and inclusion. She is CIPD qualified, and a certified coach and trainer including digital learning.
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