Now, this may be a fable, but a good friend of mine told me that people learn through stories.  5 keys to avoid this trap:

  1. Use a competency profile.
  2. Beside each competency, have a minimum rating from 1-6 (1= unacceptable, 6 = best in class). You cannot conduct a structured interview on behavior in an unstructured fashion.
  3. Know how top performers respond- You should be listening for answers that sound like the ‘A’ players on your team or the answer an ‘A’ player would give.
  4. Judge top-of-mind responsiveness. People often ask you to repeat a question to buy themselves time or say the question back to you. While I am a bigger fan of the clarifying technique, be mindful they do not do this all the time. Marcus Buckingham, the key thought leader on strengths based interviewing says a talent is a recurring pattern of thought, feeling or behavior that can be productively applied. The critical piece is recurring.
  5. Look for indicators in the interview that this feeling recurrs. People leaning in; nodding 3/4 of the way through the question. Answering it with “that happened yesterday” or “yes, that happens all the time”.


If they struggle to think of an example, it is not recurring. Dont judge them on eloquence; judge them on the immediacy of the response. Are you hiring for talent? Do your interviews have clarity? Drop me a note; we are in this together.




Matt Sharrers

Leads the firm's focus on the CEO’s role in accelerating revenue growth by embracing emerging best practices to grow revenue faster than the industry and competitors. 

Matt Sharrers is the CEO of SBI, a management consulting firm specialized in sales and marketing that is dedicated to helping you Make Your Number. Forbes recognizes SBI as one of The Best Management Consulting Firms in 2017.


Over the course of nearly a decade at SBI, Matt Sharrers was an instrumental early partner guiding SBI as the Senior Partner. Matt’s functional responsibilities included acting as the head of sales where he led SBI’s double-digit revenue growth, and was responsible for the hiring function to build SBI’s team of revenue generation experts.


Prior to joining SBI in 2009, Matt spent eleven years leading sales and marketing teams as a Vice President of Sales. Matt has “lived in the field.” As a result, he is the foremost expert in the art of separating fact from fiction as it relates to revenue growth best practices. CEOs and Private equity investors turn to Matt’s team at SBI when they need to unlock trapped growth inside of their companies.



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