Blog: How much should we depend on gut to take hiring decisions?


How much should we depend on gut to take hiring decisions?

It is no coincidence that scientific community calls the gut the second brain as it is a neural tissue filled with neuro transmitters. How do you leverage your gut then?
How much should we depend on gut to take hiring decisions?

Of late I have been involved in staffing a large team for a green field project which has led me to spend many hours interviewing senior level executives. Most of the people in HR profession would agreethat hiring is the sales function of HR which means it has thrill of closing the deal, uncertainty and lot of leg work before you reach closure. As hiring is an important process one has to deal with significant number of factors to consider in selecting the right candidate before one says ‘he is the person we should hire’.

In last six months I have interviewed approximately 100 people and as I felt it benice thing to share my experience on things that worked and few that didnot work. I want to put a disclaimer that Hiring is contextual to the organization and talent market. 

First get the basics of the role figured out

The job description is starting point, equally important is to the jot down the nuances of the role with the Hiring Manager. It is very important to first put together what are the things the person is expected to do in the role, which the person will interact with at external world and internal world, who he will work with horizontally and vertically. Here is an example, for one of the roles Business Head roles, I sat with the Business CEO and captured these three points

a) The Person will interact with Senior Leaders at Customers as the product we sell is the most important investment decision the customers make. b). should have the ability to navigate the internal matrix to get decision made on pricing for large deals. c)The person should have Experience of leading a team of commercial leaders who are mid-level to senior executives.  This really helped me to communicate the nuances of the role and also helped me to evaluate the candidate very well.

Duration of the interview is at extremes of the continuum

It is true the first 10 mins is important. I have either spent 20 mins or 1.5 hours with candidates. The interviews are much longer with the ones that fits the role and I have really seen benefit of spending time as the discussion should go broad into areas like life goals, passion, work environment that works best, reflection on career and life. Allow time for conversation to flow in different direction and as it is a two way street and allow time for the interviewee ask question is very helpful in the long run. Questions that have worked best for me include what are the things that you want to accomplish in your next role, what is the preparation you are doing for the same and open ended questions that are about the life goals. 

Get candidate to do blue sky thinking on the ideal role

As we are building a new business we have flexibility to offer candidates multiple roles to choose from.  One of the things I have picked from my Business Leader is to ask candidates what is the ideal role they want to do as the next role and why. I have experienced that this is a great way to know their interest and challenge they are looking for. 

Doing Reference checkson the candidate is a must

Spending personal time doing reference check is worth the investment of time. I have recently interviewed one candidate and post interview felt the person is great communicator and is just right for the job. Same day we connected with someone who had worked with the candidate and I got extremely negative feedback on performance.  This was clearly going to be a hiring mistake I would have regretted for a long time.  

Straight from the gut

After the interview is over and after hearing what other interviewers have to say, I go with my gut. This happens to me in only those situations when I know the content of the role and the person good enough. To circle back from where we started the conversation, for me what has worked is knowledge of the content of role and spending good amount of time with candidates are basics that have worked very well. 

I will conclude by saying that I have not yet mastered the art of hiring; sometimes I have hit the bull’s eye and on few times ended up making bad hiring decisions. I do give importance to few things that include reference checks, extensive interview process and going with the gut. It is no coincidence that scientific community calls the gut the ‘second brain’ as it is a neural tissue filled with neuro transmitters. 


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Topics: Recruitment, #Hiring

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