Is intuition important when hiring and promoting staff?

Is intuition important when hiring and promoting staff?

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If you view intuition as crucial for recruiting, you're not alone.

According to a report by Signium titled 'The Intuition Index: The Critical Role of Intuition in International Business', 96% of respondents viewed intuition as important when you are personally looking to hire or promote someone, with 61% of these saying it was ‘very’ important.

Surveying  606 business leaders from 12 countries, the research challenges the traditional executive search methods which rely on the data-driven competency models and psychometric testing, showing that 'softer' intuitive skills are just as essential in recruitment decision making.

Interestingly, business decision makers valued intuition more than HR decision makers - with 67% of the former thinking that intuition is very important in the hiring and promotion of staff, compared to 55% of the latter.

By company size, respondents in larger companies (over 10,000 employees) were more likely to view intuition as very important, compared to those in smaller companies (250-500 employees) - 73% compared to 57%.

The report noted even where there is high value placed on intuition, there is an increased awareness of the need for self-regulation in its use.

It stated: "Self-awareness and clear state of mind are thought of by many to be a prerequisite for intuitive judgement, as well as healthy respect for the data which the intuitive decisions are based on. We are no longer in an age when business leaders can boast of 'making up their mind about a person in the first minute' – we seek objectivity, evidence, fairness and self-improvement as much as we prize risk taking."

Contrary to popular belief, the research affirms that use of intuition is not only vital in helping HR decision makers achieve the right recruitment fit, it also contributes to the ongoing drive to create more diverse shortlists.

While the long-held assumption in the industry that competency models are unbiased and ensure diversity, Signium's Chairman, Alastair Paton, argued otherwise.

He said: "White male extroverts will always put their hands up and say they can do a job, despite not always being a clear fit. But other candidates which would bring diversity often say they aren’t qualified enough and will not put themselves forward because they are more introvert and lack confidence in their competency fit.

"This is why current recruitment methods don’t work – they play to the white/male/older personality types and as a result we fail to deliver a truly broad and diverse shortlist of candidates. We need to use intuitive thinking that links to cultural fit and company values, and it needs to be done up front, not at the last minute when you meet the candidate."

Photo / 123RF

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