5 psychological reasons why candidates hate interviews

Bad interviews scare great candidates away.

Amazing interviews make you a talent magnet.

The interview experience you give to candidates has a major impact on their decision to join your business.

83% of candidates say a negative interview experience can mean they change their minds about a role or company they once liked (LinkedIn Talent Trends Report).

To better understand how to get the interview experience right, it's useful to explore why interviews are stressful and negative for candidates. The SCARF Model (Dr David Rock) is based on neuroscience research and helps us understand why an individual shows a threat or reward response to any given situation. When interviews are viewed through this lens, it's easy to see why interviews cause a threat response in candidates:

  1. Status – an interview has a power imbalance, where the interviewer(ers) holds more decision making power than the candidate.

  2. Certainty – candidates don't know what the interview is about or what's coming next.

  3. Autonomy – interviewers control the interview process, with candidates having little autonomy or agency.

  4. Relatedness – poor interviewers spend very little time building connection with candidates. Connection helps make candidates feel safe.

  5. Fairness – if an interview uses poor interview questions and there is no feedback after the process, it can feel unfair.

The good news is that if you design your interviews with these factors in mind, your interviews can become a point of difference in attracting great candidates. And 87% of candidates say a positive interview experience can mean they change their mind about a role or company they once doubted (LinkedIn Talent Trends Report).

Happy Interviewing,


In the Game Black, Transparent Backgroun

A fresh way to build a growth-focused culture

Melbourne, Australia

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