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

Studies and works with the top 1% of B2B sales and marketing leaders who generate above average revenue growth for their companies.

Matt is arguably one of the industry’s most connected, and physically fit, sales leaders. He “lives 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. Because of Matt’s unique access to the best sales talent, private equity investors tend to turn to him first when they need to hire remarkable leaders to unlock trapped growth inside of their portfolio companies. Matt’s recent engagements include work commissioned by private equity leaders Permira, TPG, Bain Capital and Hellman & Friedman.


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