Why You Shouldn't Always Trust Your Gut In Hiring Decisions

Even the most experienced managers shouldn’t rely on instinct alone when making hiring decisions.

A good boss balances facts and gut impulse, writes Linda Descano, managing director and head of content and social at Citi, in a recent post on LinkedIn. When push comes to shove and two candidates look extremely similar on paper, then “instinct tends to tip the scale,” Descano admits. But should the gut win out so easily?

It depends on the position. For jobs that focus on analytical work, managers should look more at the tangible qualifications of applicants. That’s because the position probably requires someone who is detail-oriented and thorough.

When instinct becomes more important, Descano explains, is in evaluating a candidate’s personality and motivations. “Instinct comes into play for assessing organizational fit and a candidate’s future potential, as well as the intangibles, such as being a team player, curiosity, adaptability, flexibility, problem-solving capacity, ability to influence, and communications effectiveness,” she says.

In other words, instinct can be an important component in making a hiring decision. But it shouldn’t be the only one.

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