Emotions in recruitment

What is the role of emotions in recruitment?

I have read this great blog recently on how having a good memory is important to be a successful recruiter (if that doesn’t ring a bell, check it out right here). As I was reading it I recalled something my mum would say about how an emotional reaction helps us remember things. She is a teacher, so she would use that a lot in her work. But how can emotions help when you work in recruitment?

Being able to recall all of the candidates you have come across in your role is close to impossible unless you get emotionally engaged. And, maybe I’m completely wrong (in which case I’d appreciate if you could let me know your point of view), but I really believe that emotional engagement is really important for a number of reasons.

When looking for the right candidates for a role, your mission is definitely not to help an individual secure a new position, but rather to help a business. That I think is really clear. It doesn’t change the fact that once you start a conversation with a potential candidate, you are in a position to represent their interests too. In fact, if you think long-term this is something you have to do – otherwise you’ll end up having to fill that very same role a couple of months later.

Getting emotionally invested helps you better understand if a candidate is a match for the position you are working on as well as if the role is a match for them. Which is, after all, the ideal situation.

It also helps you sell the role and the client – candidates will feel if you are genuinely excited about the ‘great opportunity’ you are telling them about, something I have already covered in one of my previous blogs.

On the other hand, emotions can negatively influence the decisions you make in a recruitment process. If you enjoy your conversation with a candidate, you might end up evaluating them as stronger than they actually are. This of course works both ways, so candidates who are… well, let’s just say not so pleasant to interact with, might not get selected for the role just because you didn’t really ‘like’ them.

As in any other situation, being aware of that risk doesn’t necessarily solve the problem. But it definitely helps you make more accurate decisions as you take into account that emotions are a factor in your thought process. What I’m trying to say is that claiming that you have no emotions when it comes to recruitment can make your work less effective as it is rarely the truth.

So what do you say? Am I completely wrong here? Do you allow yourself to have emotions at work or do you just leave them at the office door?

Social Recruiting geek turned trainer @ Lightness, networking enthusiast & blogger. Love travel, sci-fi & all things employer branding! I travel between London and Poland a lot and so some of my social posts will be in Polish :)

3 thoughts on “Emotions in recruitment”

  1. Noemi Fenyvesi - June 30, 2014 11:42 am

    Reblogged this on Recruitment Reloaded and commented:
    What is the role of emotions in recruitment?

  2. Noemi Fenyvesi - June 30, 2014 11:49 am

    Your post made me think about my university studies (studied psychology): I do believe emotions play an important role not only in memory functons but,in recruitment as well, no need to go into details about the amygdala. :) Also when you are working with people emotions are inevidable and OK in the office as well. If there are no emotions its not real, human anymore I think, at least its my philosophy. :)

    1. Kasia Borowicz - June 30, 2014 7:01 pm

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts Noemi – I imagine having a background in psychology must be really helpful in recruitment, what seems to be an epiphany to me is probably something you have heard during your studies :)
      I fully agree about an emotionless environment not being very real, I also think it can seriously impact productivity as you focus on hiding what you feel instead of using that to drive your performance.


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