Guts vs. Glory: Why Your Instincts Will Fail When InterviewIng Your Next Hire

Instincts are overrated. Your gut is designed to eat bacon, not make bacon. The strongest companies are built on facts and processes, not flavor.
— Bill Watkins, Founder

What if I told you that your last major hire was probably determined by what you had for breakfast?

You’d scoff, but hear me out.

Did you hire based on defined behavioral competencies, proven past performance, reference checks, and a structured, multi-interview system? Or did you hire based on what your gut was telling you?

I hear it all the time from 10X Cohort members:

  • “He interviewed so well, but he took forever to get rolling. What a disappointment.”

  • “She looked great on paper, but we just let her go last week.”

  • “I’ve had three amazing employees quit in the last six months. I thought it was something I did—and it was. I hired the worst person to manage them.”

And I get it, believe me. I’ve made those mistakes, too. High performers like us pride ourselves on how to meet, read, and lead people, so when we bomb in an interview—as the interviewer—it can be hard to admit.

But you aren’t alone, and here’s why: Your gut doesn’t have the stomach for effective interview techniques. It was designed to save you from mortal danger, not save you from losing your best employees or save your company from losing 6x to 40x the base salary for every mis-hire. (Yes, those are real numbers. Just ask Dr. Brad Smart, who wrote Topgrading.)

Effective hiring doesn’t take guts. It takes training. If you want to hire better people? Learn to hire better, period.




We all have nightmare hiring stories. Reply to this email with yours, and you could get $500 off our Live Bootcamp of our A-Player Hiring Toolkit course coming up on March 6th.


Your gut can be a powerful tool—when you need to know what time to eat. When it comes to hiring, however, your company will starve for A-Player talent if you don’t know what—or who—you need.

Here are four tips we recommend in our A-Player Hiring Toolkit:

  1. Invest in a badass employee referral program. A-Players want to be part of a winning team, so encourage them to invite like-minded performers to your company. The more you assemble, the more your company will benefit from their exponential brainpower.

  2. Strategize and standardize your interview process. Use the same questions, the same desired answers, the same rating standards, and the same assessments for every single candidate.

  3. Add depth to your perception. Each position should have two people interpreting the face-to-face interview, with one person asking the questions and the other running the process and taking notes.

  4. Ask for references, and then check them. You’ll very quickly find out which candidates talk the talk and which ones will hit the ground running.

Want more tips? Either download our A-Player Hiring Checklist here or start implementing it right away with our upcoming course.

Would you ask someone to marry you on the first date after you get to know the person for an hour?” No you wouldn’t and you shouldn’t hire someone in haste either. Take your time, be methodical, use the tools – and leave your gut out of it.
— Chris Mursauz