Assessing Overconfidence in Recruiter Predictions of Applicant Performance

J. Internacional: Assessing Overconfidence in Recruiter Predictions of Applicant Performance


2013 - Proceedings of the 2013 Academy of Management Meeting. - doi:10.5465/AMBPP.2013.17044


A robust finding within the judgment and decision making literature is that people are overconfident in their estimates: the subjective probability they assign to their judgments is higher than their actual accuracy rates. Given that practitioners tend to rely on subjective judgment and intuition over decision aids such as regression analysis, the purpose of this study was to investigate the match between accuracy and confidence among firm recruiters in making predictions regarding applicants’ performance. In addition, we examined the accuracy and confidence of participants presented with information about candidates based solely on standardized tests—conscientiousness and general mental ability—versus their accuracy and confidence when presented with information based on a general mental ability test and ratings on unstructured interviews. Results from 72 recruiters responsible for personnel selection decisions within their organizations revealed that when individuals are presented with unstructured interview information (along with general mental ability test scores), they are less accurate but more confident than individuals who are presented with conscientiousness test scores (along with general mental ability test scores), who appear to be calibrated with actual performance data. Implications and directions for future research are discussed.


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