6 July 2009

Intuition: An Important Talent Attraction Tool

Originally published by recruitingtrends.com

Great resume. Skill set seems to match perfectly with the job description. Previous experience is impressive. This is a great candidate. I’m looking forward to the interview.

Interview is going well. There is not anything I can put my finger on that would lead me to believe that this is not the right candidate for the position. Yet, why am I hesitating? What is that nagging feeling I have?

That’s your intuition talking and you should listen.

We have to use all the tools available to us when attracting talent today. Candidates are for the most part better prepared for your interview than ever before. They know how to respond to those behavioral based and probing questions. Basically, the candidate knows what you want to hear and makes sure to say it.

This is why you need to start flexing your intuition muscle. Intuition is your mind using more than what you are consciously aware of to shape your opinions. With record breaking numbers of applicants for most open positions, the importance of making the right hiring decision has become critical. Companies cannot afford the costs involved in putting the wrong person in a position. This adds extraordinary pressure to the people responsible for attracting talent.

As recruiters, we make less than optimal hiring decisions when we become instinctually disconnected. How many times have you heard a recruiter or manager say “I should have listened to my instincts and never hired that person?”

You strengthen your intuition muscle the same way you strengthen your biceps–by using them. Using this muscle means consciously engaging the natural instincts for success we all have. We all know if we want stronger biceps we can lift weights or do pushups. But there is a difference between knowing and doing. The same principle applies to working out your intuition muscle. You have to make the conscious effort every day to call on and listen to your intuition. We need to find a way to make our intuition a more dependable talent attraction resource.

I suggest following this routine for working out your intuition muscle:


Each time you speak with a candidate take a few moments before and after the conversation and flex your intuition muscle. Reflect on what your inner voice is saying. What’s that feeling in the pit of your stomach? What’s your intuition telling you? Then have the courage to follow the message.

When you follow this simple intuition workout routine you’ll be better prepared to listen and trust your intuition as part of your talent attraction tool kit. My intuition tells me, if you do this you’ll make better hiring decisions.

5 thoughts on “Intuition: An Important Talent Attraction Tool

  1. This is such an important topic, Wendy- I love the fact that you are putting this out for discussion. My life experience has taught me that intuition is both valuable and valid. I agree that listening and observing are important interviewing skills- you cannot gather very much information if you are doing all of the talking… and this is a lesson I had to learn as a new manager while recruiting. It took me awhile to slow down and let the candidate tell me who they were, rather than drill them down with questions and facts. I think that once I realized this, I instinctively made better hiring decisions.

    I can recall joining an office as an agent some years ago, and while touring the building I was shown a desk, and I thought: “this is not going to work”. How I wish I listened to my intuition then and not 8 months and many thousand dollars later!

    Thanks for opening up a great topic- I look forward to the conversation.

  2. Thanks Wendy, obviously Sherrie did well with you.

    I have taken a few classes on finding and hiring talent. You are so right when you say “Companies cannot afford the costs involved in putting the wrong person in a position”

    One of the exercises we did gave us a formula for a bad hire, if they are under $100k a year, it is at least a one year salary and over could be 1.5 times their annual salary. When you factor in all the time spent on their salary, training, then re-doing the whole process. Not to mention opportunity cost. I try not to go there, it hurts too much.


  3. Hi Wendy…I certainly appreciate the discussion as well. Having worked with that Human Capital Scientist and raised by one (as described in the last N), they would argue phonetics in terms of actual validity…by itself, intuition ranks way down the list of accurate prediction (legalities aside). But, used in an acronym, you actually describe various assessments in letters such as N, I and T’s, which when structured, standardized, delivered consistently and fair to all prospects, you do collect valuable, predictive information to make sound selection decisions (sometimes hard to do on every single candidate). So aside from the true definition of the word, my colleagues (and father) would certainly agree with your methodologies

  4. Great post, thanks for sharing. First impressions are probably more important that most people realize. I still think about lessons learned in Gladwell’s “Blink.” The big “test” for me is body language, it speaks volumes to my “intuition.”

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