• by Jeanne Gray Carr

Selecting Trustworthy People


We define a trustworthy person as someone who can be trusted for his character and competence. Trust of character means we can trust the person’s integrity and intent; trust of competence means we can trust his abilities and the results he produces. Most leaders are skilled at interviewing for competence. What they lack is the understanding and skills to interview for integrity and intent. Our purpose is to focus on how to conduct this “character” interview.

There are a number of assessments available that have been validated to help in the selection process. Assessments, especially those profiles that focus on emotional intelligence, can be value-added. But we believe leaders still need the knowledge and skills required to conduct an effective behavioral interview, one that focuses on a person’s past behaviors. How people behaved in the past is a strong indicator of how they are likely to behave in the future.

Listed to the right are questions that can assist you conducting an effective behavioral interview. Remember to probe deep. These are not superficial questions, so don’t accept superficial answers. It might help to have different people ask the same questions and compare answers. Finally, trust your intuition, but remember to check it out. Our intuition is never wrong; it’s our interpretations that are sometimes incorrect.

Following these suggestions will not guarantee us a successful hire all the time, but it will greatly increase our chances of hiring the right person – a trustworthy person. We always get what we settle for, so don’t settle. Have the patience and perseverance to trust the process. Only by trusting and following the process will we select trustworthy people who will become fully engaged.

Sample Interview Questions for Determining Character and Intent

  • Describe a time that you failed or fell short of expectations. What did you learn?

  • What are your Core Values? What has the impact been when they are aligned with the organization? Not aligned?

  • How do you “walk your talk”? “Talk your walk”?

  • How do your Core Values translate into your actual behavior? How do you stand up for them?

  • Describe a time you learned new truths that caused you to rethink your Core Values.

  • Think about the statement, “People don’t care what you know, until they know that you care.” How have you demonstrated caring?

  • Has a win-lose or win-win attitude influenced your behaviors? Give examples of the impact on your team.

  • Describe a time you had to drop what you were doing and help one of your teammates be successful. What happened?

  • Describe a time that you got carried away by your emotions and did something you later regretted. How did you handle it?

  • Describe a time when you stretched or bent the rules. What was the impact?

  • Most of us have worked for a person we couldn’t tolerate for one reason or another. What did you learn from the experience?

#leadership #teambuilding

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