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.

CoveyTrustQuotePrivate 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.

Read more at RecruitingBlogs.com.


About the Author: Leveraging her unique perspective as a progressive thinker with a well-rounded background from diverse corporate settings, Kelly Blokdijk advises members of the business community on targeted human resource, recruiting and organization development initiatives to enhance talent management, talent acquisition, corporate communications and employee engagement programs.

Kelly is an active HR and recruiting industry blogger and regular contributor on RecruitingBlogs.com. She also candidly shares opinions, observations and ideas as a member of RecruitingBlogs’ Editorial Advisory Board.

Follow Kelly on Twitter @TalentTalks or connect with her on LinkedIn.