Is Gut Instinct the Best Recruitment Tool?

Is Intuition Recruitment's Best Tool?

The question of whether gut instinct resides over other hiring tools has been brought to light by a recent report conducted by University College London (UCL) and The Recruitment Reality Check revealed that 85% of the hiring managers asked believed intuition was their most effective recruitment tool. This research was undertaken to discover the reality behind recruitment theories such as the effectiveness of psychometric tests, personality questionnaires and background checks. So what are the arguments for and against relying on your instinct?

Trust your gut.       

Intuition is important when it comes to recruitment because often you cannot truly know if a candidate will fit in with both your team and the company culture until you have met them and gauged their personality for yourself. The truth is, applicants can fool hiring managers with a flashy CV and giving all the ‘right’ answers in psychometric/personality tests. However, there’s no hiding from your first impression when they walk into the room. A candidate may have rehearsed all the right things to say in an interview, but if your gut instinct tells you there’s something disingenuous about them or that they simply will not fit in with the team, it’s just not going to work out.

The report also revealed that most hiring managers felt that psychometric/personality tests are simply too expensive and sometimes insufficient. This explains why only 36% revealed that such tests are the chief element of their hiring process. It’s interesting to discover that despite the technological advancements the recruitment market has experienced, traditional methods are still paramount for hiring professionals.

The power of tests.  

The main issue with simply relying on your gut instinct is that you are naturally more likely to choose people who are similar to yourself, resulting in an absence of diversity in your business. Although there are often substantial costs involved, background checks, psychometric tests and personality questionnaires can help you to discover candidates whose suitability is not immediately obvious. Tests can aid you in the screening process prior to interviews as they can assess personality and skill level. In addition, the use of background checks can ensure the information your applicants have displayed on paper matches the reality, helping you to reduce the number of dishonest candidates attending your interviews.  You can also use tests to assess the ability of your applicants, evaluating how they approach their work and whether they truly possess the right skills for the job on offer. Personality questionnaires can give you some idea on cultural fit, which may not be as insightful as meeting someone in person, but can certainly help you determine whether this applicant is worth interviewing.

The solution?

Of course, as with many scenarios of this nature, the best solution is to try and strike a balance between the two methods. The first stages of the hiring process may be better suited to the use of psychometric testing so you can vet your applicants effectively and fairly, reducing the number of unsuitable candidates attending your interviews. At the interview stage you can by all means listen to your gut instinct, particularly when it comes to making your final decision. In addition, in order to match the right people to your vacancies, tailor your recruitment strategy to each job you have on offer. Some positions may require you to use more techniques than others, for instance a specialist role will demand more focus on testing a candidates’ skills before bringing them in for an interview.