Be Irrational When Selecting Leaders

Choosing the right people for your organization requires careful attention, assessment and analysis. Given the importance of these decisions, let’s break down the progression of thoughts that play into the employee selection process.

 Most of us take a left-brain/logical approach when faced with critical decisions. In candidate search and selection this involves an examination that is organized around job description specifications, key credentials and detailed criteria for leadership selection. It is, by its very nature, a rational approach.

If hiring success was a science and we used only left-brain predictive factors, it would reason that all people with excellent credentials should turn out to be star performers.Yet, common experience shows that rational criteria remain inadequate predictors of future successful job performance.   

Rational data can certainly be useful in paring down the field of candidates to a manageable number; but when the hiring process reaches the stage of personal interviews, it is time for the left-brain to concede to right-brain thinking.

Getting Personal
The person-to-person interview stage applies the most pivotal hiring factors—the irrational factors—allowing them to come into focus using intuitive measuring tools. These measurements may include: sensing whether a candidate “feels right," shares your values, displays compatible chemistry and communications styles with your stakeholders, or demonstrates both a high E.Q. (Emotional Intelligence) and the I.Q. to match with your environment.

Be Aware of a Caveat
There is a danger that can accompany this irrational/intuitive mode. The peril lies in the impact of misleading prejudices you may possess. For instance, it is important to guard against both positive biases (such as “just like me”) and negative ones. These negative touch points can range from: “I fear she’s a liberal (or conservative)”; “What’s up with his beard?”; or a myriad of other non-objective considerations tempered by legislation.

Choosing Wisely
The interview process is your invitation to think irrationally; and if you are careful to keep your positive and negative prejudices in check, you will choose well. As a spirited irrational screener you may positively identify that spark in a person that suggests a likely successful future relationship. You will be using your best human gifts for reading and relating to others.

If you are accustomed to using rational approaches to decision making, try positively applying your gifts for irrationality. You’ll improve your chances of achieving success with the leaders you bring aboard.

“To want to tackle everything rationally is very irrational.” Ilyas, Kassam, author