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Predicting professional preferences for intuition‐based hiring

Michael A. Lodato (ICF International, Fairfax, Virginia, USA)
Scott Highhouse (Department of Psychology, Bowling Green State University, Bowling Green, Ohio, USA)
Margaret E. Brooks (Management Department, Bowling Green State University, Bowling Green, Ohio, USA)

Journal of Managerial Psychology

ISSN: 0268-3946

Article publication date: 5 July 2011




Many human resource professionals erroneously believe that they can hire the best employees without the assistance of decision aids. The purpose of this study is to examine personal and situational characteristics that may relate to preference for intuition‐based approaches to hiring employees.


A representative sample of 206 managers and directors of human resources management was asked to complete an online questionnaire addressing psychological constructs and career information.


The authors found that the profile of a professional who prefers intuition‐based hiring is one who is an experiential thinker (i.e. tends to make everyday decisions based on feelings), is less experienced, works for a smaller organization, and does not possess advanced professional certification. Hiring context (i.e. selecting hourly versus salaried employees) did not influence preferences for intuition‐based hiring.

Research limitations/implications

Elements of the study are cross‐sectional and based on self‐reports. This does not allow for causal interpretations and increases the risk of common method bias.

Practical implications

Qualities that serve a human resource professional well in some aspects of work performance may interfere with the adoption of evidence‐based practices.


This study is the first to examine the characteristics of human resource professionals that are associated with a preference for intuition‐based hiring, and provides a new measure of selection decision‐making approach that may be used as a dependent variable in future research on the topic.



Lodato, M.A., Highhouse, S. and Brooks, M.E. (2011), "Predicting professional preferences for intuition‐based hiring", Journal of Managerial Psychology, Vol. 26 No. 5, pp. 352-365.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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