Halo Horn Effect | Meaning and Definition

What is the Halo Horn Effect?

The Halo and Horn Effect is a cognitive bias that enables a person to allow only one trait, either Halo (good) or Horn (bad), to overshadow other characteristics such as actions, behaviors, and beliefs. The Halo and Horn Effect simply means the first impression of a candidate, which has an effect leading to biased negative or positive opinion of the candidate’s work. In the case of a positive first impression of the interviewee, it leads the interviewer to ignore or neglect his/her negative characteristics, and in the case of a negative first impression, the interviewer feels like pointing out the candidate’s negative characteristics.

The Halo or Horn Effect is the biasedness that occurs when a candidate is completely incompetent or competent in one field whom the supervisor has to rate high or low in all other fields and areas correspondingly. This bias is often reflected during the time of recruitment, highly based upon the first impressions of the employees that conceal all of their characteristics as an individual.

Citing an example of the Halo Horn Effect, when the interviewer assumes the interviewee to be a good person based on his/her good looks in a photograph. This is an error in judgment that reflects an individual’s prejudices, preferences, social perception, and ideology. 

Occurrence of Horn and Halo Effect

In different circumstances, the Halo and Horn Effect is seen in a workplace, such as during the time of:

  •       Assigning tasks
  •       Bad attitudes
  •       Acceptance of lateness
  •       Recruitment
  •       Overworking or underperformance.