The Risks of Relying on ‘Gut Feeling’ in Your Hiring Process

Although a good intuition or “gut feeling” is a valuable trait, growing evidence shows that it is not a reliable method in choosing the best job candidate during your hiring process.

Start-ups, small, and mid-sized businesses usually rely only on resumes, interviews, and reference checks along with the ‘gut feel’ to quickly hire a candidate for a job. This is, of course, understandable because as a small business, you may not have the right tools and/or resources to implement a more advanced recruitment process.

However, it’s important for you to know the risks of overly relying on your gut feeling when making a hiring decision.

Gut feeling is directly prone to Unconscious Bias

You probably know that the subconscious mind contains way more information gathered throughout a lifetime than we are even aware off. These are things such as; your own belief systems, cultural norms, moralistic judgments, prejudice, and stereotype etiquettes.

Unconscious, or also known as Implicit Bias directly affects the decisions based on gut feeling. This is all because we all have certain ideas embedded into our brains which we believe are “normal” or the “norm”. Our brains are hardwired to prefer people who are similar to us and to generalize our perceptions through our own belief systems.

In other words, when you think your intuition is telling you that a certain candidate is best for the job, your brain might be fooling you by bypassing rational and logical thinking and acting solely on your own people preferences.

Now, this doesn’t always have to be the case. Some people really do have a sharp intuition. This intuition can be trained and developed into a valuable asset to your recruitment approach by improving different people skills.

So, you definitely should not completely eliminate intuition from your hiring process.

However, way more evidence proves that; compared to gut-feel-driven hiring – data-driven hiring, especially through assessments, is the most efficient practice implemented for improving job hire success.

4 Key Elements of Unconscious Bias


The Consequences of a Bad Hire

The key factor you have to be aware of is that, a bad choice of a job candidate doesn’t just affect your business and employees. It almost certainly will have a negative impact on the candidates themselves, in one way or another.

The second crucial aspect of a bad employment decision are the costs and financial losses which can be a huge downfall for any business, especially for smaller businesses or start-ups.

Keep in mind the following negative impacts of a bad hire:

  • High onboarding costs and additional financial losses.
    According to the research video on hiring costs by Next Generation, 30% of the employees first year earnings is estimated as the average cost of a bad hire. An average cost of a new employee sums up to a whopping $57,968 according to an Infographic on hiring the wrong employees by Resoomay.
  • A bad hire can have a negative impact on the productivity of the rest of the employees.
    The consequences of not fitting the right candidate to the right job can negatively affect the rest of the company employees, the teams, and even work processes. This is mostly reflected through disruptions and decreased productivity.
  • Damage to the company culture is also often mentioned as a negative effect of a bad recruiting decision.
    A disruptive novelty may bring either good or bad changes within a company and its culture. In the same way, a new hire can also affect the company. A badly chosen candidate can bring negative disruptions and consequences. So, thorough data-backed insights about a candidate’s character will help reduce the risk of negative outcomes, and help you tackle conflicts, obstacles, and unexpected challenges in the onboarding process.
  • The Candidate in question also, inevitably suffers by being hired for a job not suitable for them
    The negative impacts on a candidate can be multiple. Such as wasted time and energy, getting into frustrating situations, losing self-confidence, becoming miserable, receiving poor reviews, and a negative addition to their work reputation.

How to minimize the risks and consequences in your hiring process and increase the hire success rate?

Gut feel is out. Science is in.

You can improve your hiring process by investing in the development of additional HR and people skills and by introducing new and advanced practices into it.

  • Additional skills and practices may be:
  • Learning to reduce unconscious bias
  • Learning to read people better
  • Defining behavioral skills and competencies
  • Using tests and assessment tools
  • Including other team members into the recruitment process

However, data-driven, evidence-based, hiring processes and decisions are proving to be the most profitable practice for any business.

And when it comes to small businesses, Assessments developed with crucial sets of data and evidence collection, are the most efficient solution to improving your hiring process.

What makes job candidate Assessments so beneficial?

  • Adding a job fit assessment or psychometric assessment is easy and low cost.
  • Assessments provide a comprehensive, data-driven, evaluation of candidate competencies, skills, and character traits.
  • A job fit assessment will match the right person to the right job role.
  • In particular, normative assessments like Zeker allow you to compare apples with apples.

Click to trial an affordable and results driven pre-employment assessments on your next hire