Why You Need to Trust Your Instincts at Work


At some point, every hiring manager has that feeling; the idea that a particular candidate is right or wrong for the job without the presence of any obvious reason. Often, the feeling is visceral in nature, almost as though you’ve never been more certain in your life. However, it’s hard to decide if following that instinct is the right call.

But, in most cases, it is.

Understanding Instinct

Whether you call it going with your gut, following your intuition, or acting on instinct, the principles behind it are still the same. It isn’t some random occurrence; your instincts are an expression of cumulative experience that leads you to a particular judgment. And, since everyone’s experience is different, one person may have that funny feeling in their gut while another doesn’t.

These sensations are part of our survival mechanisms designed to ensure we make it through the day safely. And, while choosing a candidate for a position might not be a life or death decision, it can have a meaningful impact on how our lives go forward.

Decision and Emotion

Many people are under the impression that eliminating emotion from decision making is ideal. In fact, an absence of emotion can actually impair our ability to make choices. Because, without emotion, we don’t truly understand what we want.

However, relying solely on gut instinct can also have repercussions. It may lead us to make snap judgments based on a first impression that wasn’t entirely accurate in the first place. By allowing the decision-making process to continue, we may find that our initial concerns were unfounded.

Additionally, most people have innate biases that affect these feelings. For example, it is easier to recall recent experiences than those from years ago. So, when an instinct is felt, it may be based solely on that recent experience at first, and we may not relate it to previous experiences until later. That process is referred to as availability bias.

Confirmation bias occurs when we give preference to information that supports our current beliefs and try to ignore details that suggest our deep0ly held beliefs are incorrect. Additionally, hindsight bias plays to our desire to be accurate when predicting future events, regardless of the random nature of things that may be involved.

Using Instinct Properly

While some instinctual impressions are subject to personal biases, all gut feelings should be acknowledged. However, it is irresponsible to simply stop there. Instead, use these feelings as cues to dig deeper. Try to identify the source of your intuition, such as the prior experiences you have associated with the situation at hand.

By taking the time to determine why the feeling is there, you can form a more educated opinion regarding its validity. And, if your analysis supports your initial conclusion, you can be more secure in the decision. If it doesn’t, then you have a more accurate picture with which to make a decision than before.

Once you understand the processes involved, you can make better decisions in hiring and in life. If you would like assistance in ensuring your hiring decisions are founded, you can enlist the experience of recruitment specialists to help you through the process. Contact the professionals at Bayside Solutions and see how their expertise can improve your hiring instincts.