25 Shocking First Impression Biases

By Vincent Nero

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It may shock you how much we infer after only 100 milliseconds of looking at a person's face. In just that split second glance, we come to assumptions about attractiveness, likability, competence, trustworthiness and aggressiveness. For most people, this is a hard pill to swallow. For others, it can affect their day to day lives, and even if they get a job. But the science is hard to ignore. They say not judge a book by its cover, but that is exactly what we do.

We come to snap decisions just by looking at someone's clothing, their shoes, their watch. We make judgements based on a handshake, a person's weight, their gender, their teeth and whether or not they are wearing makeup. Scienctific research has covered a wide range of first impression biases, and EBI took a look at the ones that affect the hiring world. It is all compiled in an infographic about first impression biases.

Here is a look at some of the most stunning research:


  • Candidates score better in an interview if their pre-interview chat goes "well".
  • If a candidate has a firm handshake, while looking the person in the eye, they will have a better likelihood of getting the job.


  • Tailored suits make men appear more confident and successful (compared to a non-tailored one.)
  • Female applicants are more likely to be hired if they are wearing “masculine” clothing.
  • Wearing a watch makes people appear more conscientious.



  • People are overweight are viewed as being less successful in their jobs.
  • Companies are twice as likely to think men are better than women in math
  • In general, attractive people will get hired over unattractive people—particularly attractive men.
  • Wearing makeup makes a woman appear more competent.
  • 50 ms detection: Within 50 milliseconds of seeing a face, people can correctly detect a man’s sexual orientation.

Resumes and Names

  • Commonly named people are more likely to be hired than uncommon ones.
  • Those with white-sounding names are more likely to get called back for an interview than those with African-American sounding names.




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You might like these blog posts How to Drive Real Results with Paperless Onboarding, 5 Reasons to Outsource Social Media Marketing to Someone Else, How Does Real-Time Performance Feedback Improve Employee Performance?, and How to do Creative Promotional Campaigns Inspired by TV Shows and Films.

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