Should we rely purely on intuition when hiring?

Decision-making when hiring can often seem straightforward but there’re a variety of factors at play when recruiters rely on their intuition.

Two men shaking hands at a job interview


Recruiters often feel an emotional involvement in hiring decisions and choose to go with their gut when considering whether a candidate will be suitable for a job. Although that is a natural response when conducting an unstructured interview, our feelings and subconscious beliefs can often be misleading.

The issue is that relying on intuition can’t provide us with a fully unbiased, neutral decision. Due to intuition bias and people’s natural, yet often misplaced confidence in their own intuition, recruiters are often led to make ineffective choices based on poor predictions. David Bernard, founder and CEO of behavioural assessment firm AssessFirst offers his opinion.

The limits of intuition

“We may be led to believe we have found the perfect candidate based on certain qualities we have observed in other successful employees, yet this is not an accurate indicator of a different candidate’s suitability.

What’s more, every individual has a set of preconceived beliefs that can be damaging in the context of recruitment. Recruiters can often be led to only consider evidence that supports their own preconceived opinions and that results in unintentional discrimination and less diversity in the workplace.
By relying solely on intuition, we are ill-equipped to make decisions that accurately anticipate future performance. In a nutshell, we can’t predict the future.

In an ever-evolving world that has recently seen significant changes within the world of work, there are a variety of fast-emerging environmental and situational variations that can have an impact an employee’s performance.

Building reliable recruitment intuition also requires immediate and objective feedback on a recruit’s performance after securing a job, yet this isn’t always possible. Recruiters don’t receive unbiased feedback as to how a new employee is performing, as that feedback itself is likely to be affected by evaluators’ own theories and opinions.”

Data-driven hiring solutions

“Simply put, the solution to a reliable and error-free recruitment process is making science-led decisions.

When looking at the future, we must keep in mind that the new technological behaviours both businesses and individuals have adopted throughout the pandemic have reached levels that far exceeded expectations.

Using AI can help recruiters anticipate future behaviours accurately, minimising the chances of hiring the wrong candidate by maintaining objectivity while taking all circumstances into account and taking human bias out of the equation.

Psychometric tests, in particular, can detect both flaws and qualities accurately – whether they are on a candidate’s CV or not, and are able to give recruiters the full picture. As these types of tests leverage behavioural science, they can build a reliable assessment profile for individuals that is entirely based on data.

Given the hefty cost of hiring the wrong candidate, it is more vital than ever to rely on AI algorithms that draw from behavioural sciences to provide the right tools to eliminate the inadequacies of standard hiring practices.”

Eradicating egocentric concerns

“Understanding and being willing to utilise this new technology for hiring is going to require us to acknowledge the limits and downsides of our own intuition and recognise that evidence-based choices are ultimately the most beneficial for both companies and businesses.

Recruiters often show aversion to AI recruitment as they consider it a threat to their personal autonomy when hiring. However, using AI in recruitment is also a way of making confident, future-conscious decisions. The quicker we adapt to these changes, the easier it will be for companies and professionals to be prepared for the world of tomorrow.”

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