When is it OK to go with your gut when recruiting?


Generally speaking, it’s a good idea to leave emotions and feelings out of the recruitment process, but there are instances when trusting your gut instinct can pay off and lead to a good hire.

If you’re recruiting and have three potential employees who fare very similarly – let’s say they have a similar educational background, experience and even are closely matched on any aptitude tests you might have given them, how do you know which one to hire?

Often this will be down to gut instinct, rather than anything else. It’s basically a final resort, but there are things that you can do to help you reach that conclusion.

Ask the same direct question to everybody

Include at least one question that is to the point and comparable in your interview process. Maybe that will be “why should we hire you?” or “what is the most important thing you can bring to this role?. How each person reacts can tell you a lot. Try to ask the question towards the end of the interview when the candidate is most relaxed and therefore honest.

You can also use more probing questions to help reveal more about a candidate’s past experience. Some examples include:

– “How have you dealt with stressful conflicts in past roles?”
– “How would those closest to you describe you?”
– “What would you say your biggest strengths and weaknesses are?”
– “Where do you see yourself in five years time?”
– “What do you hope to gain from your role in our company?”


Use real scenarios to help you

There will be situations in your company that require fast thinking and good judgement. Use people from the relevant department to supply three different difficult scenarios that have happened recently. Ask each candidate to tell you how they would have coped and dealt with each scenario, and compare with how your own department handled it. It doesn’t have to be the same, of course, but it can certainly help you gauge what the new candidate will be bringing to the team depending on how differently or similarly they think (both can be a good thing).


Introduce them to other people

Perhaps your gut instinct is telling you that there’s something not quite right about the candidate. Or perhaps it’s the opposite. Either way, it pays to get a second or third opinion, preferably from somebody close to the team that the candidate will be working in. It’s also interesting to note the first impressions of anybody else that has come into contact with the candidate, such as your secretary/receptionist.


Check on your gut instinct

Somebody can look fantastic on paper, but something could still be telling you there’s something not quite right about them. It doesn’t take much effort to do a simple background check on Google.

For some reason, despite the thousands of articles warning against the dangers of too much openness on social media, many still fall into the trap of sharing too much information on the likes of Facebook and Twitter.

The number of social networks available to search is huge, don’t just limit yourself to a simple Facebook search, have a look at LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram to name but a few. You can glean quite a lot of insights into a person’s character by how they choose to behave socially.

Again, ask for a second or third opinion on a potential candidate if you’re still not sure after looking through social profiles.

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