If It's Raining, You Might Want to Reschedule That Interview

It is no secret that weather affects mood, and even behavior. The Bagel Man we wrote about in Freakonomics, who ran an honor-system business, received lower payments during foul weather. Now along come Donald Redelmeier and Simon D. Baxter from the University of Toronto with an interesting question: do applicants to medical school suffer if they happen to be interviewed on a rainy day? Redelmeier and Baxter looked at the data for nearly 3,000 applicants over a six-year period. The result:

Overall, those interviewed on rainy days received about a 1 percent lower score than those interviewed on sunny days (average score 16.31 v. 16.49, p = 0.042). This pattern was consistent for both senior interviewers (16.39 v. 16.55, p = 0.08) and junior interviewers (16.23 v. 16.42, p = 0.041). We next used logistic regression to analyze subsequent admission decisions. The difference in scores was equivalent to about a 10 percent lower total mark on the Medical College Admission Test.


I think this is interesting! I wonder if this is applicable to job interviews (not just academic ones), and whether it is due to the interviewee or interviewer's mood. If it is the latter, will the effect of weather on the result be stronger if the interviewer's job involves the outdoors? e.g. maybe the supervisor of a window cleaner will be more likely to fail a job candidate during foul weather, compared to an office worker's.


People also spend more money on sunny days... at least when it comes to street food. You can't really eat outside when it's pouring down.


Correlation is not causation: what about this explanation: desperate people are more probable to brave the weather.