Essentially, researchers looked at ratings given to candidates who were interviewed to be admitted into an MBA program. They reviewed scores given to candidates on various items such as the candidate’s willingness to work on a team, interest in the school and numbers already conducted earlier in the day, along with hard core stats like GMAT scores.
Well, interestingly enough if candidates all got high scores, if they were interviewed later in the day they were given a lower score.
What gives? Researchers realized that interviewers balance out a day so if they see a few candidates one after another, they think they’re giving too many high ratings. Even if you’re a stellar candidate and it’s your turn to interview next, chances are they’ll give you a lower rating to balance out the scores. Even though there may very well be strong candidate after strong candidate, interviewers don’t necessarily rate you on merit alone. They compare and contrast you to other candidates.
That is, other candidates they’ve already seen that day. And it’s magnified; if there’s a weak candidate at the end of the day, the applicant is viewed as weaker because they’re contrasted with strong candidates.
So, if you have the option when scheduling your next interview, opt to go earlier in the day rather than later. If you’re the interviewer, instead of focusing on balancing out feedback from candidates interviewed the same day, focus on each candidate individually and whether or not he or she is qualified for the job.