Our Toronto executive recruitment team shares the latest insights, tips and tricks to help you hire the right leaders for the right opportunities.


Do you hire based on a gut feeling?

Blog Image Emotional Hiring (1)

Raise your hand if you have ever felt someone would be great for your team the moment you met them. Or maybe you hired someone because they felt like the right ‘fit’ for your organization, though you couldn't quite put your finger on why.

These hires were made on a gut feeling. They were based on emotional hiring decisions. 

Emotions drive our decision making in many facets of business, including hiring. Research has shown that interviewers often make their mind up about a candidate within the first 30 seconds of meeting them, and the rest of the interview reinforces whether those first instincts were right. 

By now, most leaders know this is not an effective hiring strategy, yet a lot of us can't help but still do it, even though it can lead to costly hiring mistakes. In fact, research has shown that less than 22% of hires made based on emotional/subjective hiring are successful. 

Emotional or gut based hiring often leads hiring managers to be naturally drawn to candidates that share similar interests or have similar experiences to themselves, not necessarily candidates that are best suited for the role. This propensity to ‘clone’ during hiring decisions can have a detrimental effect on the team and organization, resulting in mismatched skills, experience and a lack of diversity. 

Our executive recruiting team champions an objective, evidence and data driven recruitment approach to hiring to help our clients minimize bias, limit impulsive decision making and avoid costly hiring mistakes. 

Below are the key elements we recommend organizations follow as part of an objective and successful hiring strategy: 

1. Define the behaviour traits and competencies for the role 

What type of skills (technical and soft) are necessary for exceptional performance? What types of values or behavioural traits will the ideal candidate have? Starting with a defined role profile based on behavioural/cognitive traits creates a clear and objective set of criteria to assess candidates through. 

This step is critical and at times can be difficult for organizations who may not have a well defined structure. Our team can provide a comprehensive assessment and tools to craft a role profile at the start of the recruitment process.

2. Implement a consistent interview evaluation process

Typically an organization’s recruitment process includes multiple interviews with various decision makers. Creating a consistent process to evaluate and rate these competencies so that everyone involved is asking the same questions and using the same rating system is critical.  Developing a hiring scorecard that everyone follows is the easiest and most effective way to remove emotion from the process.

3. Use a variety of assessment tools and questions 

Behavioural and situational questions are a basis for objective evaluation. We also recommend supplementing these questions with cognitive assessment tools and analysis to provide an in-depth overview of the candidate and an objective lens of their attributes. 

Remember, no two jobs are alike. Your questions, screening process, and behavioural analytics should be customized for each role.

Not sure where to start? We can help.

At South End Partners, our Toronto executive recruiters work with large and small organizations to help them find the right leaders for the right opportunities using an objective, data driven approach.  

Reach out to find out how we can help you find your next great hire.