Evaluating people

“In evaluating people, you look for three qualities: Integrity, Intelligence and Energy. The most important is Integrity. If they don’t have that, the other two qualities, intelligence and energy, are going to kill you.” – Warren Buffett
Being in Search and recruiting for over 25 years, I evaluate people for my life’s work. We all “read” people in our own way, everyday. The definition of integrity is “adherence to ethical principles; soundness of moral character; honesty, ” Integrity to me means you do what you say you’re going to do. It also means being authentic and consistent-people who have integrity and respect of peers and management. They move faster in their careers. It is the stuff leaders are made of.
When looking at a resume or online profile I look at two main factors to identify integrity. The first factor is track record. For track record, I’m looking for job stability, promotions, career progression, etc. The second factor is performance. For performance, I look for achievements and accomplishments. We are in an increasingly metric driven business environment. People are measured on their output more than ever before. The ability to examine track record and performance offers insights into a person’s inventiveness, resourcefulness, and ability to overcome obstacles to achieve results. These are the people great companies are made of.
When looking to explore these areas on the phone, we are looking to quickly get a sense of someone’s energy, enthusiasm and personality style. Obviously people with a glass-half-full approach and a can-do attitude tend to fare well. In my experience a person who speaks well on the phone usually presents well in person. Vetting out an individual’s technical skills and experience through softer questions speaking to experience and motivations as well as behavior based questions will help you further dial down on a particular candidate’s fit.
As companies are resuming hiring and the job market heats back up, please pay particular attention to the integrity question- as Buffett says, you don’t want a person without integrity to “kill you!”