Overconfidence in personnel selection: When and why unstructured interview information can hurt hiring decisions

Edgar E. Kausel, Satoris S. Culbertson, Hector P. Madrid

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

62 Scopus citations


Overconfidence is an important bias related to the ability to recognize the limits of one's knowledge. The present study examines overconfidence in predictions of job performance for participants presented with information about candidates based solely on standardized tests versus those who also were presented with unstructured interview information. We conducted two studies with individuals responsible for hiring decisions. Results showed that individuals presented with interview information exhibited more overconfidence than individuals presented with test scores only. In a third study, consisting of a betting competition for undergraduate students, larger overconfidence was related to fewer payoffs. These combined results emphasize the importance of studying confidence and decision-related variables in selection decisions. Furthermore, while previous research has shown that the predictive validity of unstructured interviews is low, this study provides compelling evidence that they not only fail to help personnel selection decisions, but can actually hurt them.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)27-44
Number of pages18
JournalOrganizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes
StatePublished - 1 Nov 2016


  • Behavioral decision theory
  • Conscientiousness
  • Evidence-based management
  • General mental ability
  • Hiring decisions
  • Human resource management
  • Judgment and decision making
  • Overconfidence
  • Personnel selection
  • Unstructured interviews


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