TRUST YOUR GUT: USING YOUR INTUITION IN HIRING DECISIONS

by Matt Thomas

With hundreds of successful placements under our belt here at Core Ventures, I wish I could tell you that all of them were nice, easy strolls to the finish line. Unfortunately, that’s not reality. Because we do our best to stay engaged all the way through to the start date it’s not uncommon for our Staffing Consultants to be up late negotiating counteroffers, explaining pto, and helping our clients and candidates make the best possible decisions.

Sometimes our clients get cold feet. It happens. Hiring people is risky and a miss is expensive. Many of our clients need people to come in and add value immediately. There is always some pressure and uncertainty in the hiring process. Whenever a client who had been high on a candidate gets cold feet towards the end, our favorite question to ask them is, “What does your gut tell you?” More often than not their fears are rooted in past negative experiences, not their current reality, and we can help them close the deal. Sometimes, though, they can’t shake that something feels off. It’s here that we tell our clients, trust your gut.

Whenever a client who had been high on a candidate gets cold feet towards the end, our favorite question to ask them is, “What does your gut tell you?”

No matter how thorough the interview process is, how strong the assessment and vetting tools are, and how long you take to really get to know a candidate, it is impossible to know everything there is to know about a person in a 3-6 month window. At Core, our people do an incredible job sourcing and vetting candidates. We assess character, competency, and culture fit with the best of them. But at the end of the day, the client has to feel good about a candidate. They have to have enough confidence in the process to pull the trigger. Sure, there are some clients who operate in an irrational amount of fear (that’s why we joke that our staffing consultants are ½ recruiter ½ therapist!) but we do our best to help them sift through what’s real and what’s not. Most, though, are able to see clearly and think rightly as long as we have done our job on the front end. However, if the gut says something is off, we’ve learned it’s best to trust your intuition.

At the beginning of every search, we do everything we can to paint a clear picture of what the client wants and needs. It’s an involved process that usually includes our custom Culture Assessment which allows us to pinpoint the kind of individual who would be an A+ hire. Armed with this critical information we can start pounding the pavement in search of qualified candidates. No matter how high we are on a candidate, no matter how many boxes they check, if our Staffing Consultants sense that something is off we encourage them to move on to the next one. The same is true for our clients. No matter how much we love a candidate that we have submitted, if they can’t shake the feeling that something isn’t right, we accept the rejection and move on.

No matter how high we are on a candidate, no matter how many boxes they check, if our Staffing Consultants sense that something is off we encourage them to move on to the next one.

The truth is there is only so much you can do to assess character in the interview process. No assessment tool, reference, or otherwise will tell you everything you need to know about a person’s integrity. If you sense that something just isn’t quite right, trust your gut and move on. Sometimes it can be as simple as a lack of chemistry. It’s not uncommon to ask a hiring manager if they simply like the candidate–as a person, not as a potential hire. Chemistry, or the lack thereof, can tell us a lot about whether or not someone is a fit.

The consequences of missing on a new hire can be severe. It can negatively affect production, which always impacts your customers. Hiring the wrong person in a key role can also set culture-building back months or even years. It’s a big deal.

Hiring the wrong person in a key role can also set culture-building back months or even years. It’s a big deal.

I’ve learned the hard way that when I don’t trust my gut on a new hire I’m setting myself, and my business, up for failure. When people talk about AI and machine learning disrupting the recruiting industry or replacing companies’ hiring processes, I can’t help but laugh. Sure the technological advancements should and do make us better, but at the end of the day, oftentimes a key hire comes down to intuition.

The other secret? More often than not our best placements, the ones our clients call and rave about a year after they have been hired, didn’t check all the boxes on the job description. Without intuition, these wonderful people would have never had a chance.

So, if you are feeling uneasy about a candidate who looks great on paper, trust your gut and move on. The current pain you’re feeling being down a team member is nothing compared to what you’ll feel when you’re kicking yourself for not trusting your gut.