A significant percentage of people involved with screening and selecting job candidates fancy themselves detectives, mind-readers, psychics and psychologists. They’re almost always willing to trust their own gut. But not much else slips unscathed through the scrutiny of these trust deficient evaluators of talent.

When this takes place do we end up with a talent shortage or a trust shortage?

Judges of Job Seekers

Trust deficient individuals are overtly judgmental and suspicious of anyone that happens to be actively pursuing a new employment opportunity. To them, active job seekers are viewed as defective and inferior and obviously not trustworthy talent or they would not be unemployed, underemployed or unsatisfactorily employed. If an active job seeker is fortunate enough to be granted an interview, everything he or she says about why they are looking or why they are not working may unjustly fuel skepticism about their employability. Entire chunks of the available labor pool are automatically disregarded because of this unreasonable level of distrust of active job seekers’ abilities.


Instead of conducting a professional business-person to business-person conversation, trust deficient interrogator types play games and ask tricky (no-win & awkward to answer) or irrelevant questions to see how people think, act or respond under pressure. They prefer to treat interviews as “guilty until proven innocent” interrogations. Putting people on the spot and convincing them to spell out failures, mistakes and weaknesses helps reinforce the mind-reader’s reasons for not trusting any positive information acquired. Anyone that doesn’t tell the interrogator what they want to hear in the way they want to hear it gets dismissed.

Power Trippers

Some interviewers live in a world where their own power trips entitle them to demand current compensation and salary history from any prospective candidates in order to pre-classify them as worthy or unworthy of the position under consideration. Rather than developing a market-driven compensation structure to reflect the performance criteria of any respective position, the trust deficient power tripper bases a candidate’s future earnings on unrelated present or past income. Even if a candidate is adamant about money not being a key motivator, the non-trusting psychic-friends-network interviewer will assume that’s a lie and refuse to accept that anyone would have different priorities than him/herself. The power tripping wannabe psychologist’s assessment of candidates’ financial situation is what determines who moves ahead or who is dropped.

Private Investigators

These self-appointed detectives are not satisfied with traditional due diligence and objective (compliant) background or reference checks, so they seek out backdoor methods to dig up dirt about candidates. They have no qualms about putting the candidate’s employment status or professional relationships in jeopardy with premature inquiries or unauthorized sleuthing. Investigators may even probe backdoor sources for personal details, gossip, hearsay and speculation and put more weight on that than other input. Trust deficient detective types are always eager to rely on information obtained out of context, especially if it contradicts other data collected. Sneaky NSA-style intrusion or privacy invasion might be all it takes to disqualify an otherwise qualified candidate.

While being thorough and thoughtful is encouraged, taken to the extreme trust deficiencies can undermine the success of a selection process. Judging, interrogating, power-tripping and investigating as described here does not make for a trust-based relationship.

If the pre-screen crystal ball predicts LIES ahead, then don’t waste time engaging in any of this trust deficient behavior. Sir-Mix-A-Lot knows what he likes and so should you.



Views: 1559

Comment by Sandra McCartt on April 17, 2014 at 4:01am
One of the best posts I have ever read.
Comment by Anna Brekka on April 17, 2014 at 10:49am

Brilliant - thank you Kelly.

Comment by Keith D. Halperin on April 17, 2014 at 1:56pm

Thanks again, Kelly. Such people are part of the reason I say that the GAFIS (Greed, Arrogance, Fear, Ignorance/Incompetence, and Stupidity) Principles control organizations that claim to base themselves on profit-maximizing rationality.


Comment by Will Thomson on April 17, 2014 at 4:31pm

Kelly, I love this!

Comment by Kelly Blokdijk on April 17, 2014 at 6:59pm

Thank-you very much Sandra, Anna, Keith and Will! I always appreciate YOUR feedback. It means a lot! ~KB

Comment by Keith D. Halperin on April 17, 2014 at 7:00pm


Comment by Steven Guine on April 17, 2014 at 8:33pm

You're preaching to the choir, Kelly. I am so glad there is a check to balance my "perspective".

Comment by Pete Radloff on April 18, 2014 at 1:14pm

Well done Kelly. If there were a way to quantify the key talent that is being missed by those who are wrongly, (possibly) illegally discarding candidates, then that could be impactful.  Pie in the sky, I know, but it makes you want to just ball up data and smash it in their ignorant little faces. :)

Comment by Amber on April 18, 2014 at 6:09pm

Great post, Kelly.

1. Just had a candidate rejected after company talked to "someone" at the very recently left job. Not glowing. No kidding, candidate hated the position (that wasn't what he was promised) and quit. 

2. You forgot the "Assessment Assassins" who will NEVER deviate for assessment results, no matter what. :)

Comment by Kelly Blokdijk on April 18, 2014 at 9:28pm

Thanks @Steve. Appreciate your perspective being in balance. 

@Pete ignorance + arrogance (and all of the other parts of @Keith's acronym are dangerous) and no doubt many excellent people are being missed and missing out on opportunities because of stupidity. 

@Amber - sheesh! People are just annoying. It really stinks when out of context gossip is what decisions are based on. Oh yeah, good point about assessments too. Those are fun. Many years ago I was rejected due to my DiSC results being the same as someone already on the team. I guess that was not enough diversity or some lame thing. Oh sorry, we already met our quota for conscientious workers...

Thanks all for adding your thoughts. Dig it! 

Have a lovely weekend. ~KB 


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