Do You Have Interview Intuition?

By Cheryl Stein
Monster Business Coach

Call it whatever you want, a sixth sense, or a gut feeling. Call it your instincts or just plain intuition. Our mind picks up on things that can’t easily be defined. Whenever we interact with people, we are picking up on imperceptible messages that give us a feeling that isn’t necessarily based on fact.

Did you ever have a conversation with someone who drained you of your energy? For reasons that you can’t explain, being around that person felt heavy and tiring? Have you ever been near a person that gives you the opposite feeling? You walk away with a feeling of lightness, like they just took some of their happy mood and added it to you?
The business world is a place of logic and cold hard facts. We measure productivity, output, and sales. We look at numbers, and dates. We have targets and deliverables. In the land of hiring, we look at years of experience, levels of achievement and number of years of schooling. We go into an interview with a job candidate with a list of questions that need to be answered and very often we make our hiring decisions based on criteria that are concrete.
I think that if we are not consciously paying attention to our intuition when we interview, we are leaving out one of the essential pieces of picking the right person.
Intuition is something that way too many people ignore. We often look back at decisions that we have made and say, “I had a bad feeling about that person but I ignored it. If only I had listened to my instincts.” When we make a bad hiring decision, we have very often ignored that little voice that tells us we shouldn’t be choosing that person.
Montreal life coach and intuitive consultant Julie Cusmariu ( helps clients with honing that skill. Julie helps people access their intuition but tuning out distractions, by getting present, by getting out of their head (meaning all the mental chatter that goes on that blocks reception of intuitive guidance and messages) and essentially helps her clients access the information that they are picking up that is below the surface.
Here are the questions that I asked Julie:
Does intuition have a place in the interview?
Intuition is that gut feeling that we have that often has no basis in fact. We pick up on something that we often can’t explain that the other person is giving off and it gives us an impression, or idea of how to proceed that isn’t necessarily logical.
A person could look like the perfect candidate. They have all the right qualities. They answer all the questions exactly like you think they should yet something tells you that you don’t like them or that they aren’t right. This is a key element to making the right hiring choice.
How do you teach people to use it in the workplace?
Tapping into your intuition leads to out the box thinking and opens you up to possibilities. It opens the channels to non linear thinking. People often call that using your right brain. A lot of people, especially entrepreneurs and decision makers use intuition to make decisions when they don’t have all the facts. It is often something that people are using daily but are not aware of when they are. I help people tap into the conscious use of intuition. They more aware people are, the greater the skill at using it.
What is intuition?
Intuition is different things to different people and is described very differently from person to person. How it is described is very individual. Some people feel it by interpreting body signs. Some people describe it as instant knowing. Some people get it in a dream. Everyone has a different intuitive language and it is important to know how it speaks to you.
How do you use it during the interview process?
Firstly, you have to be conscious that you want to use it and that you want to call on it. People need to look at it as one of the skills that you will l be using when you interview. They need to ask good questions, pay attention to body language, be good listeners, and pay attention to what their intuition is telling them. It is a skill that you can master to get better at interviewing candidates.
What advice can you give to new interviewers?
We process so much during the interview that the brand new interviewer is typically just as nervous as the job candidate. They worry about making mistakes. This can make them forget that their intuition is a key component to picking the right candidate.

One of the best pieces of advice that I have for all interviewers is to leave your judgments at the door. Neutrality makes you really aware of what your little voice is telling you. That takes a lot of practice and will only develop if you focus on the skill.

Intuition vs. Premonition
Intuition is not a psychic thing that comes from a different frequency. It isn’t “out there”. It is an important part of the analysis of a candidate and although not concrete, is actually based on the feelings we get from the expertise we have developed in life.
How do you differentiate between intuition and your own internal baggage?
You need to ask yourself if it is you or them. You need to know your trigger points. Is this coming from me or from them? Am I projecting or is it them that is making me not feel good about it?
Very often we react to something that is in fact our own baggage. A person says something that gives us a reaction in our bodies, our stomach muscles tighten, we get anxious, we feel our blood pressure rise. The good interviewer will take the time to make sure where the feelings are coming from and recognize what is their own “stuff” and what is the actual intuitive feeling that they are getting from the situation.
Is there any way to use intuition to prepare for an interview?
Take the resume of the candidate and read it. What is your gut telling you? Are you getting any intuitive sense from it? Record that feeling and check it against what you pick up on during the interview. Intuition is useful even before the person is in the room.
There is no substitute for a very good conversation with a prospective job candidate. There is no getting away from asking the questions that you believe need to be answered during the interview process. Using intuition as part of your bag of tricks needs to be an essential component of the selection process. If you feel it, it is probably worth paying attention to.