Recruiting and Staffing

Hiring Wisdom: The Problem With Going With Your Gut Feeling

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Once you have made a decision about an applicant for some reason (such as the way they filled out the application blank or something you like or don’t like about their resume or appearance or the way they sounded on the phone, etc.), it is almost impossible to remove that feeling or judgment from the equation — be it good or bad.

No matter the evidence that piles up on the other side, you’ll stick to that gut feel, judgment call because you’re not simply trying to change a decision you made, you’re asking yourself to admit you were wrong.

No one likes to admit (even to ourselves) that we’ve made a mistake. In fact, we often work hard to prove ourselves right.

The only way to overcome this bias is to admit you may not have all of the information necessary to make a good decision and try to reevaluate your thinking from a new perspective.

If you find yourself liking an applicant, ask him or her tougher interview questions to prove yourself wrong.

If you find yourself not liking a candidate, try asking this person easier questions and give them a chance to prove you wrong.

This was originally published on Mel Kleiman’s Humetrics blog.

Mel Kleiman, CSP, is an internationally-known authority on recruiting, selecting, and hiring hourly employees. He has been the president of Humetrics since 1976 and has over 30 years of practical experience, research, consulting and professional speaking work to his credit. Contact him at mkleiman@humetrics.com.
  • @TalentPlatform

    Mel, are you trying to pick a fight with hiring managers?

    You are saying that hiring managers sometimes hire like they date; if they practice love @ 1st sight why not Hire @ 1st sight. Add it up; hiring manager bias, ability to short-stack resumes in 6 seconds, belief that turnover is inevitable and gut feeling over measurable attributes.

    I’ve read your books. It’s not a fight you’re picking, it’s that you want to give hiring manages a fighting chance at hiring success. Point well made — “…admit you may not have all of the information necessary to make a good
    decision and try to reevaluate your thinking from a new perspective.” therein lies our success.