On Hiring & Listening To One’s Gut

Let’s face it. If we want a high performing team we must strive to hire the best possible people.

But, how does one do that?

While I’d never advertise myself as the ultimate expert on the subject, I have hired dozens upon dozens of people in my career. And, after doing so I can honestly say I’ve only made a couple of bad hiring decisions.

We all know the “scientific” steps:

  • Prepare a solid job description outlining the role and requirements (skills, education, experience, etc.)
  • Market the position (I often use LinkedIn with great success)
  • Identify a number of key people in the organization to interview candidates. These should be individuals with a vested interest in the new-hire’s success.
  • Screen and interview candidates based on the job description while considering the “fit” of each within the organization
  • Obtain and discuss feedback from the interviewers and ask for their vote (thumbs up, questions/concerns, thumbs down)
  • Check references on the finalist(s)
  • Perform a background check (if applicable)

Taking the above at the surface level might seem like a pretty reasonable approach to sourcing new members of a team. And, we all pretty much follow that script. So far so good…

Here is where I’ve gone wrong. And, upon sharing my experience with a few others they’ve acknowledged making the same unfortunate mistake.

It goes something like this…

After interviewing a candidate against the job description I was able to successfully “check-off” all the boxes (the requirements). However, my gut was telling me otherwise (i.e., something was wrong but I just couldn’t put my finger on it).

Upon discussing feedback from the team who interviewed the candidate the overwhelming vote was “thumbs up”, except for my one vote of dissent. Being a diplomatic manager, I shared my thoughts and ultimately agreed to go along with their consensus to add this person to our team.

Before a month had gone by it was crystal clear (to all involved) why my gut was against making the hire…

Fortunately, this scenario has ONLY happened a couple of times, many, many years ago.

Lesson learned…

Bottom-line: Listen to your gut.

You want your logical impression of the candidate to be in alignment with your gut feel.

If your gut is telling you something is off you are encouraged to fully vet that to your satisfaction or pass on the candidate. Not doing so will cost you precious time and money.

Take it from the scars of experience…

The good news is that after solidly learning that lesson (many years ago) we’ve built a high performing team of consultants at Customer Centricity. A team of people who never cease to amaze me in how well and consistently they serve our clients.

All the best!

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