Imagine you are the V.P. of H.R. (or other position where you are responsible for the quality of people being hired by your organization) and your C.E.O is quoted in a national newspaper with the following excerpt:

Q. Give me an example of how you [get a sense of somebody pretty quickly in an interview].

A. You can see in somebody’s face if they’re nice, and if they have nice eyes. I think eyes tell you a lot about a person, and their kindness. And when they speak, do they speak with sincerity in their voice? That’s not about body language, but you can just tell when somebody’s sincere or not sincere.

There is nothing in that statement that can be supported (or negated) by data.  Nor is there a way to objectively compare candidates using that method.  Basically, the C.E.O. is saying, “Eh, if the person makes a good first impression on me I’ll hire him/her.”  In most organizations, I would hope that a first line supervisor or manager would not be able to get away with that.  But, we all know that things change when you get to the executive suite.  The challenge for selection specialists is how to get executives to use data as seriously as they do for most business decisions when they hire other executives.

What have you found works best when speaking to executives about using valid selection tools when hiring/promoting other executives?

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