“No way! My gut instinct is the ultimate truth serum.”
Are you a business owner? Do you conduct interviews? Does the decision to hire rest in your hands? Before you slurp down that serum…
Caution? Why?
Not only are you hiring to benefit your company and your profit margin, you are also hiring someone who will be in close contact with your existing team of employees. How safe is that individual?
Highly successful crime writer Ann Rule, worked at a suicide prevention hotline. After working late, she would ask a handsome young work-study to walk her to her car. He, in turn, would admonish her to “be careful.” His name? Ted Bundy. The point is, someone hired him, and many were deceived.
You think I’m going to hire a psychopath?
Granted, only 1% of the population are psychopaths, according to Robert D. Hare, Ph.D., considered to be one of the leading experts in this field. So, the chances of your hiring a similar individual are slim. But, the point is, would you even know? Psychopathic behavior is characterized by such characteristics as
  • superficial charm
  • manipulative behaviors
  • impulsivity
  • lying
  • lack of empathy
  • failure to accept responsibility
Kara Mayer Robinson’s article “Sociopath vs. Psychopath: What’s the Difference?” shares that in a business setting,
They [psychopaths] carefully plot their moves, and use aggression in a planned-out way to get what they want. If they’re after more money or status in the office, for example, they’ll make a plan to take out any barriers that stand in the way, even if it’s another person’s job or reputation.
These are definitely not problems you want to deal with in the course of business! You might still be thinking, but “I’d spot someone like that.” Let’s admit it. All of us (including the company who writes this blog) have hired someone we’ve later regretted hiring. What did we miss in the interview process? Did we listen too much to our gut?
How the gut influences us
Within your digestive system lies a network of 200 to 600 million neurons called the enteric nervous system (ENS). Think of it like the brain’s way of outsourcing digestion. The system handles things like the contraction of muscles for digestion, and it can also detect harmful toxins which will trigger an “expulsion response.” The ENS is credited with giving us the feeling of having butterflies in the stomach which is a result of blood being diverted away from the gut when the brain is dealing with stress. So, yes, what we’re dealing with in our head will influence how our stomach feels. That does not mean, however, that your brain should relinquish decision-making control to your stomach, and here’s why.
A few years ago, our Founder was hiring for a senior sales role for one of our clients. We had worked with the customer to document the traits that we wanted to focus on in the interview process. We had created great questions and were using a scorecard. The interviews were going well, and then someone arrived who absolutely blew away the interview team! His answers to our questions were fantastic. He came to the interview with ranking reports that showed his track record of success. His skills presentation was flawless. The client’s leadership team loved this guy.
On his resume, he stated that he had a degree in economics from UCLA, a well-respected school in California. He even brought a copy of his transcript for review, which showed a 3.8 grade point average. The thing is that in 20 years of interviewing people, our Founder has never had someone provide a transcript without being asked. We decided to run an education check. As you might guess, UCLA had never heard of him. The client’s HR Director called the school directly and ran his social security number, variations of his name, and everything she could think of to make sure that she could find his records. UCLA was very helpful, but in the end, he had never attended that school.
We asked him about this, and he confidently stated that he would call UCLA and get it fixed. The next day we had a voicemail that he had found another job. Because our founder was curious, he Googled “pictures of transcripts from UCLA” and was able to find the one he had shown us. The difference was that it had somebody else’s name on it.
“Good catch!” you may be saying to yourself, and yes, we saved the client from the headache and expense of a bad hire. This supposed UCLA graduate could look us dead in the eye and lie like a dog. If we had “listened to our instincts,” we would not only have brought turmoil on the company, but we also would have disrupted excellent team dynamics and potentially lost valuable employees.
So when can I listen to my gut?
Good question. Only after you have established standardized methods or processes for hiring. It’s not rocket science. Similar to following an architectural plan, you’ll get the results you want, not a clapboard shanty. (More information on the RightHire Process can be found here: RightHire) When the gut response judgement is valid is when there’s a tie on your interview scorecard. Who do you feel most comfortable with?
Succinctly put, have a plan. If you don’t, you will assess against standards you’ve unconsciously established, and unfortunately, those tend to follow racial, gender, social, and all other negative biases we’ve acquired over the years.
Curious about how else your interviewing process could be enhanced? Check out our RightHire video training series. In this series, we help you implement a hiring strategy that will improve your recruiting results. We cover topics such as differentiating your business to top talent, interviewing skills, and how to make your decisions less subjective. Connect with RightMind, Inc. and let us show you how you can propel your business growth.
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