Intuition is defined as the ability to immediately understand something or have direct knowledge without evident inference or rational thought. Intuition and bias are similar in that they both employ the use of mental shortcuts to make decisions.
Intuition bias is an implicit bias, which means that it usually occurs unintentionally and automatically. Unfortunately, even unintentional bias can have a profound effect on decisions, judgments, and behaviors.
In recruiting, intuition bias occurs when an interviewer has misplaced confidence in their “gut feeling” about a candidate and uses intuition to make a hiring decision. However, confidence doesn’t necessarily equate to accuracy.
A phrase commonly heard is “trust your gut,” which means to follow your instinct or intuition to make a decision. While there are circumstances where intuition can serve people well, it’s problematic when intuition bias plays a role in hiring decisions.
When intuition bias plays a role in hiring decisions, there is a risk that a hiring manager may lose the opportunity to hire the most qualified candidate. Moreover, intuition bias can create barriers to recruiting and retaining a diverse workforce.
During an interview, a hiring manager may get a “feeling” about the candidate. Although other candidates have the same credentials, work experience, and skillsets, the interview feels there’s “just something about” this candidate. If this plays into the manager’s hiring decision, intuition bias has occurred.
Intuition bias can have its basis in other biases, too. For example, the positive feeling an interviewer has about a candidate could be because of other biases, including similarity-attraction bias, positivity bias, or the halo effect.
occurs when a hiring manager relies too heavily on the first thing they learn about a candidate and use this knowledge as a starting point for decision-making.
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.