Attribution refers to the way people determine the cause of another individual’s behaviors, successes, and failures. There is a tendency to attribute the cause to a person’s personality or characteristics (internal) or circumstances or situations (external).
When attribution bias is in place, assumptions are made about the role played by internal factors in behavior. Attribution bias is one of the cognitive biases, which means that it can impact thought processes, decision-making, and judgment.
When reviewing applications or resumes, a hiring manager may read certain details about applicants and attribute their successes to personal characteristics without considering external circumstances. This can lead to the selector attempting to build tangible profiles of the individuals based on only a few factors.
A resume or CV does not wholly indicate the potential or skills of a candidate, and making judgments based on the limited information provided can lead to missing key opportunities and ruling out a strong candidate.
In recruiting and hiring, attribution bias can occur in either the application review or interview stages.
For example, a hiring manager may attribute a person’s friendly disposition to their success rather than the fact that they had access to better schools or a unique skill set. The reality is that a combination of these factors likely played a role in a person’s success. Meanwhile, attribution bias can affect the future behaviors and actions exhibited by the person. Without all the details, it’s impossible to draw an accurate conclusion about an individual’s successes or failures.
Fundamental Attribution Bias
Hostile Attribution Bias
Negative Impression Bias
False Consensus Bias
refers to a person’s tendency to consciously or subconsciously seek information that confirms their opinions or views while disregarding input that challenges their perception.