So you’ve been running a medium-sized enterprise for a few years now, and have enjoyed a fair degree of success, largely as a result of the excellent hiring choices you’ve made along the way. You consider yourself a good judge of character, and have never gone to any great lengths to interrogate the qualifications or personal credentials of your key hires, preferring instead to rely on your instincts when proffering a dotted line for signing.
And so far it’s worked out pretty well for you. But has your good fortune been a result of dumb luck or savvy decision-making? Should gut instinct or cold hard reasoning play the greater role in dictating the make up of your staff contingent?
Research suggests that your unconscious mind is constantly at work for you (whether you like it or not), and may in fact be more adept than its conscious counterpart when it comes to problem solving. After all, it would be very hard to determine whether someone was a cultural fit simply by trawling through their CV and giving their Facebook profile a quick stalk.
As such, gut instinct plays a critical role in the hiring process, quickly giving you a feel for a candidate’s ‘soft skills’ and their potential to work effectively with you. But whilst this information is indeed crucial when it comes to making your selection, there’s only so much you can glean from an hour in someone’s company.
So whilst you might have pegged Jane as a confident, hard-working self-starter, your gut probably didn’t pick up her insufferable need to pick fights with senior management. And while you might have correctly pegged Ahmed as an affable team player, you failed to spot the fact that his qualifications were somewhat exaggerated, something that would later lead to a slew of productivity problems.
So what’s a savvy business owner to do? Do away with face-to-face interviews entirely and let all the facts do the talking? Or continue to rely on your proven ability to spot top talent? Perhaps the answer lies somewhere in between.
Here are a few top tips to help you refine your recruitment process:
By applying a more formal structure to the interview process, you’ll be able to ensure you don’t miss out on any hidden gems and circumnavigate potential disasters. By offering up the same set of questions to each of your prospective hires, you’ll level the playing fields, and establish a set standard against which to accurately measure aptitude. Should this process leave you stymied, stuck with a pool of equally esteemed would-be employees, then let your instinct have the final say.
DECISION BY COMMITTEE
In order to mitigate instinct’s influence over reason, always involve at least one other person in the interviewing process. By leaving the decision to a panel, you’ll reduce the risk of making a hire based solely on personal charm or convenient commonalities, thereby ensuring you’re left with the best of the bunch more often than not.
DO YOUR HOMEWORK
It’s amazing how many CVs claim degrees never earned, jobs never done and articles never published. And whilst you might claim not to be too fussed by a candidate’s ‘hard qualifications’, it is vital that you know what you’re getting when signing on the dotted line. So make sure to do your homework, taking the time to check references and call upon past employers for character endorsements. That way, you’ll weed out the candidates who are ‘oddly absent on Sundays’ or ‘surprisingly inept in a supposed area of strength’, and ensure that instinct and reason are always in perfect alignment.
TAKE YOUR TIME
All too often, employers make job offers on the spot, excited by the prospect of their new hire and fearful that any pause in the process might see them snapped up by a corporate rival. But remember, your unconscious mind performs best when given time to process, so it’s important not to rush things if you want to avoid any potential post-purchase regret. So, tempting as it might be to seal the deal, you’d be better advised to take your time, giving instinct and reason a chance to catch up to one another and collaboratively arrive at a rational and business-savvy decision.