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Hiring the Right People is an Emotional Skill

Updated: Nov 30, 2021

By Stephen Pasiciel as seen in APeeling Decisions

How to make Hiring Decisions using Emotional Intelligence

Hiring people is an intoxicating experience. Creating the perfect role description that is clear and captures the right attention. Casting a wide net to get as many qualified candidates into the pipeline. Wowing the short list with an engaging and thorough interview process that makes them feel like they’re the center of the universe. Getting buy-in from current team members…no red flags. Making the phone call to let the successful candidate know that she’s risen to the top of the list. Welcoming her to the team with a positively outstanding onboarding program that is the envy of the industry.

But then within a year she’s gone.

What was going to be the solution to a number of problems just walked out the door.

What happened? How did what started out so good turn out so bad? I was so utterly convinced that she was going to be successful. How did I blow it?

Make no mistake – it is important to create and implement hiring processes that identifies the best-fit candidate. We need to be skilled at creating clearly defined roles, at interviewing techniques, and at coaching new hires through the onboarding process.

What we should focus on more is how our emotions, if we’re not careful, can get in the way of a great hiring process and render it ineffective.

Hiring the right people is, in fact, an emotional skill.

So, how can our emotions get in the way of a successful hiring experience? To frame it a bit differently, what can we do to ensure that our emotions don’t get in the way of making great hiring decisions? There are three things we should pay attention to.

Prioritize objectivity.

I’m an emotional person. It’s easy for me to make decisions based on how I feel or perceive a situation or person. If that’s you, too, let’s recognize and embrace that part of ourselves because there’s value in that. But, we need to make sure that we don’t allow our emotions to rule the day. Remember that the hiring process is charged with emotion, particularly as candidates sell us on the merit of choosing them to fill a role.

Focus on what’s more important: what skills they really have, what they’ve accomplished, where they’ve stumbled, what others say about them. Get the facts, focus on the facts, and use the facts to inform the decision.

Listen to your inner voice.

We can usually tell if there’s a problem. Our inner voice screams at us that there’s a problem, but we silence it. We silence our inner voice because we need to make a hire, and fast. We tell it to be quiet because we’ve become enamored with the candidate and convinced that he’s the best fit.

We refuse to listen to our inner voice because we just don’t trust ourselves, so we turn to the data as the sole source of truth to inform the decision. Paying attention to our inner voice is different from the role emotions play when we make decisions. When we have the facts, our inner voice tells us things based on those facts.

Listen to the voice of others.

While it may be difficult to listen to our inner voice, the opposite can be true. We might be so convinced that we’re right so we disregard the wisdom of others. Consider implementing a “No Red Flags” hiring policy. Even though you’re convinced that he’s the right person for the job, if someone else disagrees then you don’t proceed – or at least you delay so you can dig deeper into the objections.

Thankfully, I’ve made many more successful hires than not. But, the hires that haven’t worked out stand out more because of the negative impact on the team and organization.

Hiring and onboarding skills and processes are crucial and can always be improved, but remember to pay attention to the role your emotions play.

Take it one step further and recognize that the three emotional skills presented here are skills that you can learn and implement to increase the chances of a successful hire.


Stephen is a seasoned coach to entrepreneurs, executives, and managers, and he is a Talent and Small Business Executive, with more than twenty years’ experience in Canada and the

United States Discover more about him click the button

Dealing with our Emotions to be Professional at work.

In today’s digital world, your personal brand story must reflect your professionalism because whether we receive a promotion or a pink slip can be contingent on how leadership perceives our behaviour, image, and the quality of our work, all of which, define our professional image.

Many of us get tripped up our emotions and behave in a manner that causes a negative consequence we weren't expecting. Professionals show up and do the job no matter how they feel and this expectation can give us the impression that professionals are robots instead of feeling and flawed humans.

The personal branding advice telling us we need to be authentic, honest, and real can have long reaching consequences in our professional lives because people are still human and humans are judgemental, unforgiving, quick to dismiss, and slow to trust. We want to believe people will give us the doubt and help us when we hurt because they are caring individuals.

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