The idea that we have an inherently bias is hard for us to swallow. But, the unfortunate facts are hard to hide from. We judge personality of new people in the first instant we meet them. Although we are brought up to not judge a book by its cover, that is exactly what we do. We judge personality on clothing, shoes, watches, and other physical appearance traits. We even come to decisions about how a person acts or appears just by reading their name on a paper.

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EBI took an eye-opening dive into scientific research to find 25 incredible first impression biases that exist in the world. While some might not seem as important to everyday life, they can have powerful effects in the business world—especially when trying to get a job, or hiring someone. If you come to a quick decision in the first 10 seconds of meeting someone, but still have to sit through a 30 minute interview, that interview will only act to strengthen these judgements.

The first, most stunning fact is how much we judge personality in the first 100ms of seeing someone’s face. We come to assumptions about attractiveness, likability, competence, trustworthiness and aggressiveness after looking at a face for just 100 milliseconds.

Here is a look at some more of the more eye-opening research, broken down by topic.

Behavior

  • Pre-interview chat: If a pre-interview chat between a candidate and interviewer goes well, the candidate tends to score better overall.
  • Firm grip: A firm handshake while looking the interviewer in the eye leads to higher likelihood of getting the job. Even moreso for women.

CLOTHING

  • Tailored suit: A tailored suit makes a male appear more confident, successful, wealthy and flexible than if he wears a non-tailored one.
  • Watch: People who wear a watch appear more conscientious.
  • Shoes: People accurately judge personality traits just based on shoes. Wealthy people wear expensive shoes, but aggressive people wear ankle boots.

APPEARANCE

  • Weight: Overweight applicants are viewed as lacking necessary variables for successful job performance.
  • Gender: Men are viewed as being better than women in math roles. In fact, attractive men are more likely to be hired for all jobs.
  • Makeup: Makeup makes women more likely to appear competent.
  • Teeth: People with straight teeth are viewed as more successful and honest. (This even occurs in children.)

Names on Resumes

  • African-American names: Males with a stereotypically African-American names are envisioned as being bigger and more violent.
  • Non-Anglo names: Names that sound Indian, Pakistani or Chinese are less likely to get called in for an interview than those with more “Anglo” names.
  • White name: White-sounding names get more callbacks than those with African-American sounding names.

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