Everyone gets that intuitive feeling from time to time.

Maybe there’s something nagging them about a particular place, or perhaps something just feels good about a situation. Whatever the scenario, the “gut feeling” everyone gets often acts as a first step in responding to a situation in a certain way. This can be a great thing in some situations – sensing a dangerous situation in advance, for example, can leave someone time to evade it.

But when it comes to hiring, how much of the talent acquisition process should involve a gut feeling?

Why Gut Feelings Don’t Always Benefit the Hiring Process

When it comes to hiring top talent, there’s no such thing as “too careful”. The goal is to bring the best candidates on board and keep them long enough for them to make a positive difference in your organization. And a gut feeling can certainly factor into that decision, for better or worse.

Alison Green of Manager Link stated a very good rule to go by: she ignores her gut when it says “hire” because she wants to base her hiring decision on real-world evidence. The reasoning is that hiring on a positive gut feeling is often related to something that has nothing to do with the job itself, whereas a negative gut feeling might be directly linked to something that could impact the job.

According to Green, she often found her gut to be wrong when it was related to something positive about a gut feeling. This can lead to situations where you might make a terrible hiring decision, and one that has a long lasting impact on the company. 

Additionally, research has shown that managers who hire based on gut feelings reduce the accuracy of other types of data-driven talent assessment tools

There are plenty of adverse effects to consider when it comes to hiring from a gut feeling. Maybe they don’t fit the company culture well, and a rift is created among your employees. Or, more commonly, they might realize that they don’t like the job they’re doing, or you realize that they aren’t qualified, resulting in early stage attrition and costing your company thousands of dollars, as well as lost revenue opportunities while you try to replace the former employee.

Your gut can be good for a lot of things, but there’s a big risk in trusting it with your talent acquisition.  So how do you eliminate the guesswork, the risks, and mitigate this consequences caused by gut-feeling hiring?

Hiring Top Candidates with Validated Talent Acquisition Tools

The best way to avoid “gut instinct” mistakes is to leverage data-driven tools such as assessments. Using personality tests is an unbiased way of getting an objective view of the candidate. You may have a good gut feeling, but the assessment process has no gut, only data – data that you can use to help validate a hiring decision, or dismiss a candidate because they may not be the right fit for the job.

Using job simulations can be another strong tool to take advantage of as it allows you to see if this candidate can actually perform the job, or if they can just talk about it well. Assessments are the data you need to help ensure you don’t make a mistake because of a good feeling. 

While it comes as naturally to us humans as breathing, trusting your gut can lead to many issues if you’re not careful. So take advantage of as many tools in the hiring process as you can, especially assessments that measure things like personality traits and critical job skills.

For more information on talent acquisition, download FurstPerson’s ebook on the 5 Talent Acquisition Commandments for Every Productive Mass Hiring Team below.