Based on current research, 80-90% of managers rely on gut feeling and intuition in hiring decisions. There has been a lot of discussion about the use of intuition in recruitment process and researchers have opinions both for and against. In practise, one of the most common ways of working today is using different testing methods in the applicant selection phase and then making the final choice by intuition. It means that we may select an applicant who we feel is the best choice for the role. Such an applicant is considered as a good match to the work environment and the team. However, sometimes an applicant is selected solely for their professional skills, without considering their suitability for the work community. In both situations, intuition is relied upon. The first example emphasizes importance of collaboration and believes that skills can be learned. In the second example, the recruitment is based on the capability of an individual and relying on him or her to fit into the work community.

Because intuition is such an important part of recruitment, I listed some ways to make better use of intuition:

1. Use validated testing methods to assess problem-solving skills and work habits

By using validated testing methods, you put all applicants on the same line and avoid discarding candidates by intuition too early. There IS always cognitive bias present in the interview. For example, an inexperienced recruiter may allow previous experience to influence an ongoing interview or favor candidates that reminds themselves.

2. Use a sovereign professional to help with interviews

Experienced recruiters are often able to utilize intuition and take their own cognitive bias into account. If the recruiter has a lot of experience from the interviews, it will be easier to keep the situation as similar as possible for all applicants and give everyone a chance to show their best. When someone else leads the discussion, you can more easily focus on making observations about the candidate and making more accurate questions.

In my opinion Recruitment Consultant does not have to be a psychologist. Among the best recruiters I know THERE are people with degrees in many fields. The common variable they have is openness and acceptance for attitude. Most importantly, there have gone through a lot of interviews. Recruitment cannot be learned from books. It must be learned through interviews and getting to know different companies.

It is important that everyone involved in recruitment is familiar with the industry and preferably also with the company.

3. Evaluate the newcomer as a whole and visualize his/her potential and impact on other people

Structured tests and assessments are good tools, but they cannot predict the future. This part of assessment always remains to be done in other ways. The more important the role for the organization, the more intuition and prediction is needed in recruitment. If possible, discuss your thoughts with others and ask for others’ views.

4. Identify those situations where you can trust your intuition and those where you should not

Studies show that people usually do not know when they can rely on their intuition. Often in a recruitment situation, it is difficult to put your opinion to words whether it’s for or against. It can be that one of the candidates just “doesn’t feel” right. This is not a simple thing that could be put into words. The feeling arises from gazes, words, gestures and the lack of them. The more interviews there are in the background, the more information is accumulated. Open and positive attitude helps to see the same in others.

In general, the more knowledge and experience one has of a recruitment situation, the chances of intuition being right increase.

5. Be open and positive towards all candidates

When I started out as a recruiter The feeling after the interview might have been that it didn’t go very well or this person isn’t fit for the job. I have been wondering afterwards that maybe it was myself as well. I wasn’t yet experienced enough to find the best in people in one hour’s interview. Nowadays, I enjoy talking with just about every person I interview. I got a reminder of this a few weeks ago when we were finishing an interview with a client. I told him I liked this candidate. The customer said that have you noticed that you always like everyone. That’s how it is. The interview is an interaction situation and I want to bring out the skills in the candidate in question. There is a right place for all of us. It is up to the recruiter to find out if it is exactly the current vacancy. Or some other vacancy elsewhere. The person being interviewed usually knows the answer to this the best. When we listen carefully, candidates often tell the answer.