Science Advances, 7 (17)
In recruitment processes, candidates are often judged one after another. This sequential procedure affects the outcome of the process. Here, we introduce the generosity-erosion effect, which states that evaluators might be harsher in their assessment of candidates after grading previous candidates generously. Generosity is defined as giving a candidate the lowest possible grade required to progress in the hiring process. Analyzing a high-stake hiring process, we find that for each candidate graded generously, the probability for subsequent candidates to pass decreased by 7.7% (experiment 1; N = 11,281). Testing the boundary conditions of the generosity-effect, we explore a hiring process that, in contrast to the previous process, was very selective, because candidates were more likely to fail than to pass. In this scenario, no evidence is found for the generosity-erosion effect (experiment 2; N = 3171). Practical implications and mechanisms underlying the generosity-erosion effect are further discussed.