Competition is expected whenever you are interviewing for a new role. It would be extremely fortunate if you found yourself as the only candidate being interviewed for a position. Consequently, genuine consideration should be paid towards the order in which you are selected for your interview, in relation to the other candidates. Many will point to the fact that every candidate is likely to be given the same opportunity to succeed, and that the conditions of the interview are unlikely to alter significantly. Even though this should be the case, interviewers are only human, and they will be influenced in the same way as anybody else. Therefore, order bias can play a part.
Being first to be interviewed.
Going in for your interview first should mean you receive the best possible interview experience from the company in question. They should be wide awake, and ready to give you their full attention. This should provide you with the best platform to succeed, with maximum concentration from both sides. However, being first can sometimes lead to your interview being forgotten slightly at the end of the process, especially if there have been several candidates after you. Those interviewed later on will be fresher in the mind of the interviewer, and that can lead to your chances of success being reduced.
One of the middle batch.
The role itself can often determine how many people are likely to be interviewing alongside you. The number is likely to be less for specially skilled positions, when compared with more general roles. However, there will commonly be someone interviewed in the middle of two others. For that person, they can arguably benefit from the order they have been given. The interviewer will be completely engaged within the process by this point, having already conducted previous interviews. Furthermore, they will not yet have thoughts drifting towards the finish line, as there are more candidates still to come. However, depending on the number of competitors, being part of the middle batch can mean you are grouped alongside others, meaning your lasting impact is lessened.
The last one to the party.
Being the final candidate to interview for a role gives you the perfect opportunity to make the maximum impression on the interviewer. It’s all set up for you to blow the rest of the competition out of the water. You will be the one they remember most vividly when it comes to the decision making stage. Therefore, if you perform well with the responses you give, coupled with the demonstration of a good culture fit for the company, you give yourself an excellent chance of being successful. The interviewer may be a little weary by this point, but that shouldn’t pose a problem as long as you grab their attention with the way you conduct yourself.
So, is order bias a problem..?
The points made in regards to the last candidate being interviewed would suggest so, but there is very little that can be done about it. There will always be someone who must be last in line. However, even though it may happen occasionally, interviewers will always attempt to compare all the candidates they have seen fairly. Consequently, the order should not make a great deal of difference in most instances. Despite this, the unconscious nature of the bias can mean it’s difficult to compress. As a result, if you do happen to be the last to be interviewed, you should do all you can to use it to your advantage!