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May 18, 2020

Why you should be vetting, not interviewing

Moving through this COVID-19 crisis, each company has a different circumstance based on a myriad of factors. The common element, the environment, has become more competitive. Leaders are assessing and realigning their talent to increase responsiveness to match the new market demands. What might have been an acceptable company and employee alignment based on needs, capabilities, and performance in 2019, is no longer a fit. The distinction between an optimistic view of a professional deemed to be developing and the realistic assessment of an underperformer is difficult to escape in this new world.

I hope this article provides a template for leaders as they move through evaluating talent, both current team members and new candidates. By the way… I do not interview, I vet. Interviews can quickly become an over-rehearsed event of two people lying to each other. Vetting is collecting information, assessing the source, motives, and accuracy, then triangulating that information from other sources. Most importantly, re-ranking the dataset as heavier-weighted, new information is collected. People are like a ticker tape on the NYSE, some valuations rise, and others decline based on life events, personal growth, enlightenment, and the leaders and environments in which their performance is taking place. Projecting whether they will be successful in your situation requires the best critical problem-solving process.


The following are the top 3 items we coach leaders through during the hiring process, along with a printout of the most effective vetting tactics and questions. Click here to download 

Creating a Data Mosaic: Financial and cultural performance data are the ultimate report card and an effective barometer for predicting future success. Critical thinking, done well, is limited by the quality and quantity of facts collected, considering the duration of the time frame from which the data is sourced. Are you looking at a puzzle piece or the entire picture? Perpetual re-ranking takes extra effort. The result should be a mosaic providing a clear picture.

Bias Awareness: To be human is to be biased, unconsciously, subconsciously, and otherwise. Relying on multiple interviewers, with one party that has no connection to the position being filled, can be effective. The tendency to lower standards, fill the position quickly, and overestimate the leader’s ability to develop and train people, are just a few common biases. Remaining explicitly focused on collecting, ranking, and weighting the facts can highlight the trajectory of future performance and guard against individual and group biases.

Post-traumatic growth: Be clear and decisive in your evaluation, conclusion, and communication. People will respect the leader at a higher level when the assessment is delivered candidly, highlighting strengths to build on and weaknesses to be improved. Self-awareness is a powerful gift. We often see rapid growth in the most stubborn people after they have been terminated, fired. Being fired is an outcome that is challenging to avoid; people often respond with newfound determination and energy, leading to Post Traumatic Growth.


We take the position of being a career coach first. No one wants to fail in their career – collaborating with professionals to solve the puzzle together increases the information flow. The more information collected, triangulated, and properly ranked yields a better result. The rewards of accurately evaluating professionals with transparency are huge. Looking out for people by increasing their self-awareness as you align towards a common goal, with a mutual commitment to transparency, will help you win the Best Leader of Year contest.

Hire Smarter – Tony

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