Converging Evidence

One of my favorite principles is converging evidence. The idea that when evidence from different sources points toward the same conclusion, you can be confident in that conclusion.

Take selecting a new hire. How confident are you with your selections? Ideally, you want converging evidence from different sources that tells you a candidate is a winner.

1) Interviews
What you want is multiple interviews by people at different levels including a candidate’s prospective boss, peers and direct reports.

2) Role Plays
Effective when the position requires exceptional interpersonal skills, like in sales or customer service.

3) Job Simulations
If technical skills are important, give the candidate a chance to demonstrate them. Put a CFO candidate in a room with mock financial statements and have them come back with their assessment and recommendations. Have a welder weld. Assess their speed and quality.

4) Assessment Profiles
There are a number of well-established instruments that reveal things like a candidate’s work preferences, interpersonal style and values – things that may be hard to extract from an interview.

5) References
Generally not that helpful although if the right questions are asked (‘If there was one thing you wish you had known about Joe when you hired him, what would that be?’) they can help to uncover red flags.

6) Online Searches
Almost everyone has left breadcrumbs on the web. Just be careful how you interpret all that personal information you come across.

7) Substance Abuse Testing
Certain positions inherently involve such a level of risk to others that pre-employment substance abuse testing is desirable.

8) Verify Credentials
Don’t set false barriers (see my June 4 blog), but if a position legitimately requires some type of degree or certification, obtain a valid copy of that document.

Many leaders are finding that despite the quantity of talent available in the marketplace, there is a shortage of quality. Applying the principle of converging evidence can help you find the nuggets in the stream.

Your thoughts?


Leave a Comment

Related Posts