Recruiting, Talent

Want to Hire Great People? Put Your Intuition to Work

by Lynn A. Robinson

Finding the right person to fill a position often turns out to be the most difficult part of a manager’s job. Whether you’re an HR staffer, a headhunter, a department manager, or a CEO, you’re going to run head on into the same problems that all seekers of the ideal candidate encounter.

Trusting intuition when hiring

Credentials: Gotta check ‘em out. References: Should you track ‘em down and grill ‘em? Accomplishments: How do you find out if they really were responsible for a new product’s success?

And after you’ve slogged your way through the “easy” stuff, you’ve still got to conduct … the interview. Will the “real” person sit down across from you? Will the perfect candidate be “off” that day?
Or worse, will the wrong one be really on?

Fortunately, there’s a way to lighten the load, ease the stress, and ultimately make a choice that works for everyone involved . . . including you. How? Hire your intuition. A white paper by Greg Moran, CEO of, points out that hiring on gut feel is just as critical a part of the screening process as any objective tool.”

Whether you call it a “gut feeling,” an “inner voice” or a “sixth sense,” intuition can play a real part in people’s decision making. Intuition is “quick and ready insight;” “knowing without knowing how you know.” As such, it’s not easy to study nor has it been easy to take seriously. Until now.

No less an organization than the United States Marine Corps has concluded that intuition trumps data analysis in a battlefield situation. In fact they were so convinced by what they discovered from an in-depth study, they made intuition a significant part of their official doctrine.

But how does it work in situations that are less chaotic—and less dangerous—than a battlefield? It turns out that that a surprising number of top decision makers routinely use their intuition. You don’t need an especially active imagination to appreciate the immense value that accurate perceptions could bring to the hiring process. Tim Cook, the CEO of Apple Computer states, “I’ve discovered it’s in facing life’s most important decisions that intuition seems the most indispensable to getting it right.”

First, though, you need to learn how your intuition communicates with you. Take a moment right now and recall a time when you made a decision that went against what the data said, and it turned out to be positive.

Now think back to a time when you made a decision that went against what your feelings said, and it turned out to be negative.

Try to remember the hints you got that led you to your decisions.

  • Did it simply feel right? Or wrong?
  • Did you get a “gut feeling” about your decision?
  • Did your body suddenly feel heavy? Or light?

 There are all kinds of ways that intuition can make itself available. Once you’ve become aware of how it works for you, you’re ready to begin using your intuition in low-risk situations. You’ll find that, as with anything requiring skill, the more you practice the better you’ll get.

When you feel you can pretty much trust the information you’re receiving, begin to use your intuition to help you during the hiring process. Ask questions such as:

  • Will this person be right for the job?
  • Will he or she be a good fit for the organization and its culture?
  • Will the company be best served by hiring this person over the other candidates?
  • Will this job and this company be a good fit for this person?

It shouldn’t be long before you’ll be receiving congratulations for having made some great hires. Not to mention sincere thanks from the people you brought on board.

So now that you know you have a trusty advisor at your beck and call, you can stop dreading the hiring process and start looking forward to making positive changes in people’s lives and your company’s operations. Of course, you’ll also be making positive changes in your own life as well. And all because you were smart enough to hire your intuition.

Lynn A. Robinson is an author and speaker on the topic of intuition. Through her work as an intuitive advisor she’s helped thousands of people discover and achieve their goals and create success. Her latest book is Put Your Intuition to Work: How to Supercharge Your Inner Wisdom to Think Fast and Make Great Decisions (Career Press, July 2016.) To learn more about her books, speaking, and consulting, visit

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