How to Use Your Intuition in Your Recruitment Process

At a time when data and quantitative metrics are so crucial to businesses, qualitative factors can sometimes be dismissed. Nowadays, decisions are mostly based on numbers, figures, and statistical trends, leaving little room for gut feel and intuition to peek through certain processes.

However, you’d be surprised to know that this is also a critical element in recruitment. In fact, 96% of business leaders say intuition is an essential skill for hiring and promoting.

Looking for the best candidate should not only rely on resume information or background, but also on your ability to assess if this person is a cultural fit. After all, working together requires human interaction, and hiring managers should know how to preserve this balance of personalities in the workplace.

Luckily, there are ways for executive recruiters to up their game and maximize their intuition when hiring. Here are some things you should remember to navigate the perfect balance between interpreting data and trusting your gut.

1. Remember that human behavior is unpredictable

When you interview potential hires, it’s your chance to ask them anything you feel will show their character. Whether it’s learning about how they cope with stress, their hobbies and interests outside work, or what their career goals are, asking varied questions will paint a better picture of your applicant. 

As they answer, you’ll be able to intuit if they’re sincere or merely following a rehearsed script. While nerves will always be part of the interview, you’ll generally be able to feel if they mean what they say—and this could be a far more accurate representation of their skills and personality than their resume.

2. You will spot unicorns or dark horses

You may also come across candidates whom you feel have other skills they can contribute to your company or those who may not have that much background but show an openness or willingness to learn on the job.

In line with this, providing opportunities to a unicorn or dark horse (who normally don’t get one) will make retention easier and will even take a bullet for your company. Trusting that these unicorn hires can deliver the performance you’re looking for will also make them believe in themselves.

Great recruiters know when to spot potential and see if they’ve hit the jackpot with a consistent top candidate or found a hidden gem whom they didn’t expect to shine during the interview. This is something you can’t predict and will only manifest during the meeting. You’ll be able to see right away if the candidate’s learning capabilities match the managers’ teaching styles in your company.

3. Use it as an advantage against other recruiters

It’s the age of tech, which means that recruitment processes have become highly automated and analytical. While this isn’t a bad thing—in fact, it’s highly encouraged—it’s also not a bad idea to add another dimension that artificial intelligence and other online tools can’t give: your intuition.

At the end of the day, you will work with these new hires, not your automation tools. Take time to get to know the person behind the resume to get a feel if you have a connection with them or if they’ll get along well with the people in their department.

Other recruiters may pass on some candidates simply because they didn’t pass the automated recruitment process. Giving yourself a chance to interact with a great candidate in person will provide you with more information and usable knowledge.

4. Don’t forget to balance it with data

Likewise, try not to be swayed too much by your emotions. An effective recruiter must practice some degree of impartiality. Remember, intuition is about acting on a feeling or idea about the situation.

If you believe the candidate has potential, don’t let go of the thought right away. Follow it up with an interview exam, ask questions on the spot to see if you’re on the right track, and review how this applicant stacks up against the others. If your gut feeling and the results match, then even better!

Consider your intuition as the starting point. If you want to prove what and how you feel, then you can set up tests to provide you with actual data.

5. Be open to out-of-the-box thinking

There really isn’t a one-size-fits-all method of recruiting the perfect employee for your team. People come from different walks of life, backgrounds, and skillsets—embrace the uniqueness of your candidate pool and look for creative ways on how you can find out the best fit for your company.

Using your intuition is one way to add some creativity and spontaneity to your interview questions. Trust that whatever you needed to ask that candidate during your interview had to be said, so you can get to know them better.

It Pays to Listen to Your Gut

Data and numbers will always be a priority in any business process, but when it comes to dealing with people, it pays to listen to your gut. Don’t be blinded by impressive resumes and achievements, and go beyond traditional interview questions to get to know the person you’re inviting to work with you and your team.

Collaboration is still a massive part of business, which makes learning about the character of a person an important piece of the puzzle during recruitment. When in doubt, it’s also not a bad idea to consult with your co-recruiters or department leads to deliberate with you.

Arvin Ramos