When hiring new staff, it’s tempting to simply go on gut instinct to select the right candidate. Whilst gut instinct can certainly be helpful, it can also be to the detriment of your business if you rely on it solely. Don’t fall into the trap of believing that you know in the ‘first 30 seconds’!
There’s no doubt that as an employer you’re going to have certain biases, even if you’re not consciously aware of them. For example, if you interview a candidate who you feel has very similar traits to yourself, then you’re almost certainly going to view them favorably. Whilst there’s nothing inherently wrong with this, it can become a problem when you’re ignoring qualified candidates merely because your gut instinct tells you they’re not right for the job.
A Better Way to Recruit
Given the fact that going on gut instinct isn’t an infallible way of hiring, it’s useful to know what other methods you can use to ensure you get the right candidate for a position. Below are some of the best ones –
- Referrals – Referrals, whether they’re from current employees or other business owners, are invaluable. Of course the referral should not form any bias to be truly useful. For example a family friend who’s trying to find a job for their son or daughter doesn’t count – also ask permission from the candidate before talking to potential referees, especially your existing employees that may know the candidate.
- Pre-screen as much as possible – When you’re looking to hire for a particular position it’s always useful to have pre-screening questions to help rule out any unsuitable candidates. This prevents you from having to wade through countless CV’s of applications who aren’t suited to the job.
- Benchmark all the candidates – Use your screening questions so that you give everyone a fair go and ask other members of your team to attend interviews where appropriate so you have a more rounded opinion. Someone else may spot something you have missed.
- Be picky – It can be easy to settle for someone who’ll be able to do the job adequately but why not strive to find the perfect candidate who’s going to excel. In the long run it’s only going to benefit your business to have a team of talented employees who are highly skilled and motivated to do the best job possible.
Gut instinct will always have a key role to play when hiring. There are certain qualities that are hard to measure with raw data. For example the level of enthusiasm a candidate has or how well you think they’ll fit into your team. For these types of judgements, gut instinct is vital and can actually help you to avoid potentially disastrous appointments.
Where gut instinct becomes a problem is when you rely on it solely without taking other factors into account.
To ensure you get the best candidate possible for a position, you should take important factors such as experience, relevant skills as well as personality traits into account and use gut instinct only after considering all the other factors and requirements of the job.
The Author – Nicola Kleinmann is a proven sales and marketing professional with many years experience as a business owner in the recruitment sector. She is able to advise businesses on their direct hiring and recruiting strategies and show them how to attract and retain the best talent in today’s modern world. Things have changed in recruitment – do what you have always done and get what you have always got!