Our emotions are the strongest influence on the decisions we make, especially when we don’t have all the information and even more especially about people. We can’t help but listen to our intuition, or gut feeling. It brings together the sum of our experiences and our motivations to guide safe decisions for the whole of our adult lives, especially as we rarely have all the “rational” information so need to use judgement.
Our intuition isn’t always right – or we’d never make a mistake! It also filters and colours other information that comes our way, limiting what we hear and how we interpret it. When making employment choices, those powerful safety-first gut feelings try to persuade us into choosing people who we quickly like and connect with, which is very comforting. And there’s a good reason for that – our anthropologically-derived subconscious programming favours familiarity (in looks, behaviour, language, perspectives, body language) – they are more likely to be part of our “tribe”. This has us favour people who appear and sound similar to the people we normally associate and identify with, whether or not they are ideal for the role.
What to do?
Don’t ignore your gut feeling. When we make employment choices, we should acknowledge how we feel personally about someone, and then put that aside for a while. We have to be very intentional about doing that. Then get curious – explore and think about whether they can and are likely to perform the role required, and whether their inclusion in your team might also bring a chance to bring new knowledge and perspectives that can improve your own knowledge and capabilities (if that’s what you’re looking for). Look for evidence, investigate behaviours and performances, and try to gain an understanding of their needs, motivations and workplace behaviours. Use independent feedback (eg reliable professional referees) and assessments (talk to us about ours) to compare and inform your impressions.
Then, once you’ve been as objectively rational as you can, add your intuition back in, compare it to the other things you found out, and you’re set to make better recruitment decisions.
Or, if you’d like us to take care of it all for you, just call to talk about our unique flat-rate, no-placement fee, assessment-inclusive model.