Bright Quark: How Micro Behaviours Can Help You Recruit Wisely


A good recruiter should be able to spot the subtle nuances of a candidate’s character, and not just from what they say. Leadership speaker Kieran Hearty recently wrote an article for detailing the importance of noticing ‘quarkiness’ to glean vital information about potential candidates.

What is a Quark?
We have previously written about body language and how telling small, seemingly unnoticed behaviours can be. Quarkiness refers to an even deeper level of understanding microscopic behaviours and the way they affect the recruiter’s decision-making process.

Mr Hearty’s ideology grew from his understanding of quantum physics, a quark being a sub-subatomic particle which makes up our very being. He describes our interactions as people as ‘quarks’, of which there can be both good and bad. For instance, negative quarks could be rolling the eyes, combative tone of voice or an inadvertent frown. Although these nuances are covert and may seem inconsequential, they can give vital information about a person’s character.

Good Quarks v Bad Quarks
The aforementioned bad quarks, or negative micro behaviours, unfortunately happen more often than the positive ones, so being able to notice when they do occur works in the recruiter’s favour. Nods of approval, approachable tone of voice and the tendency to speak well of others are affirmations which can hint about further areas of a personality type.

Quarks can be ascertained and understood in a variety of ways and not necessarily only in the interview. Some helpful tips on how to utilise these quarks can be:
• Before the interview, take note of the body language candidate’s display towards one another as well as other members of the office, not just the way they present themselves to the interviewer/recruiter.
Positive quarks suggest positive characteristics, so measure must be given to these attributes as well as their qualifications and skills. A happier employee can be more productive so be mindful of how quickly those lacking in skills could pick up the skills to excel.
• Implement the idea of assessing micro behaviours into the recruitment plan. This can help you better communicate what is really needed from a candidate in terms of personality, work potential and ability to gel within a pre-existing team.
• Recruiters should adopt what they have learned into their own behaviour and lead by example, through being aware of any negative quarks and allowing the more positive behaviours to be displayed more frequently.

Why is it Important?
Many aspects of body language are obvious to recruiters – for example, a lack of eye contact could signify a lack of confidence, which can be detrimental to work – however there are many aspects that appear in tiny ways and yet may be able to give a wealth of information about the potential of a candidate’s job performance.