Recruitment & Selection
A Leap of Faith: Why knowledgeable professionals rely on gut instinct to select employees
The Satisfaction of “Going with Your Gut”Two flawed beliefs and their associated facets have been identified that seem to drive hiring professionals’ preference for instinct over objective measures: People believe that near perfect precision is possible when predicting success. This is operationalized by:
- Belief that right person + right fit = certain success
- Validated tools (such as paper and pencil tests) include measures of validity and thus a measure of success and failure. Subjective measures do not and are often perceived as more accurate.
- Decision makers may understand the accuracy of objective measures, but believe that their situation is unique and that these measures are not relevant.
- Decision makers overestimate their ability to make judgments of others.
- Use of objective tools may give the impression of incompetence of the decision maker by others (e.g. “if you really know what you are doing, you don’t need tests”).
Implications for PracticeOrganizations must be aware that any tools, or for that matter selection criterion must be relevant, fair, and legally justifiable to accurately and defensibly select the best candidates. The use of intuition and subjectivity alone hamper this process and has been shown to actually reduce the validity of paper and pencil and computer based tools. Practices which ensure the most accurate selection include:
- Accurate measures of critical KSAOs through job analysis.
- Selection of tools validated to measurement of job related facets.
- Use of structured, behavior based interviewing.
- Education and training in selection criterion for those responsible for the hiring process.
- Communication of how subjective interviews can negatively impact the legal defensibility of selection systems.
DeGarmo GroupThis was a summary of the research and practice implications from: Highhouse, S. (2008). Stubborn reliance on intuition and subjective judgment in employee selection. Industrial and Organizational Psychology: Perspectives on Science and Practice, 1(3), 333-342.