A Sourcer Screening of the Presidential Candidates: How Will They Stack Up? by @UpwardlyMe

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Feb 25, 2016

Most companies expect their sourcers to find, engage, and screen prospects before submitting them to the recruiters and hiring managers.

Assessing prospects is an art and is made even more difficult over the phone. Fortunately, we have one of the most publicly visible screening of candidates currently playing out for all to see. In New Hampshire, Hillary Clinton asked her audience at a Political Rally to consider her as a candidate for President, specifically asking them to hire her for the job. Since Hillary asked, I thought it would be fun using a few screening tactics to actually screen them for the job.

There are more books and blogs on interviewing than you can shake a stick at, yet if you distill them all down there are four basic areas that seem to be common threads. In no particular order:

  1. Likeability. I always ask myself, “Is this someone who I would like to work with,” because they’re probably going to be sitting next to me for the next few years.
  2. Functional Capability. Simply put, “Can they do the work and get positive results.”
  3. Presentation. One of the hardest of the four to define, includes appearance, communication, how they move people, and organizational skills. I usually ask myself, “in a meeting where everyone opposes their thinking, at the meeting’s conclusion would they change minds or impact decisions?”
  4. Growth. I want to know, “Can the prospect grow and learn from their successes and mistakes, emerging stronger and more capable from the experience.”

For our “mock” screens of the candidates, we’ll ask one question each (in alphabetical order), and after each question I’ll lay out the four basic assessment areas being explored.

Most importantly, this is a post about sourcer screens, not politics. There’s absolutely no effort here to sway anyone’s opinion about who they should or shouldn’t support. Personally, I’m an independent not aligned with any party or ideology, but I am still woefully undecided and these are the questions I would want answered.

First up, Ben Carson.

Mr. Carson, you have been an ultra-successful brain surgeon and most pundits praise you for your brilliance, yet just as many criticize your ability to be president with no past experience in elected office nor anything remotely on the scale of what managing the U.S. will take. What do you say to Americans that have the same questions about you? (Functional capability is the question; can he do the job?).

Ms. Clinton, you have a lengthy and varied career working in the White House, Senate, and State Department. Your message is primarily based on these past accomplishments. Overtime, people who disagree with you have become polarized to what you represent. What big new ideas will you bring to the job and how will you get them made into law? (This explores presentation, likeability, and growth –can she overcome her polarizing impact…and are there any new big ideas?).

Mr. Cruz, many of your critics say you’re brilliant, strategically focused and organized, but few want to work, socialize, or call you a friend. Some say that in the grid lock in Washington that this is a good thing, but how do you expect to get anything accomplished if no one wants to work with you? (Obviously, this goes to likeability and presentation and a bit toward functional potential too…we’ve all seen the nudge who causes more trouble than he’s worth regardless of brilliance – is that the case here?).

Mr. Kasich, you spent 20 years as a legislator on Capitol Hill, particular in Foreign Affairs, have a strong track record as governor of Ohio, and are a popular figure in this key battleground state. Many say that you have the vision and experience to be a successful president. With all this sir, what is keeping you from catching on with the American public as you are languishing at the bottom of the polls nationwide? (When you consider presentation factors, Kasich needs to answer this question for us…)

As one of the youngest candidates for president Mr. Rubio, your youthful energy and ability to communicate has moved a portion of the American people. To others your inexperience, lack of a track record and youthfulness is a drawback. What would you say to those who question your ability to function as president that could sway them to offer you the job? (All about functional ability, does he have what it takes…and presentation, we’ve all seen the slick interviewee who gets hired for their charm, but can’t do the work…is that what we have here?).

Mr. Sanders, your message has caught fire with a large portion of Americans, especially the youngest voters. Few would question your sincerity and passion for your beliefs, but many question the ability to get any of your ideas passed into law. Having been on Capitol Hill for many decades without getting these ideas implemented, what is different now that makes you think that a President Sanders will succeed where you haven’t previously? (Presentation, likeability, functional and growth…with alternative positions, this candidate is challenged on all four assessment fronts and although he may have an answer for each – the question needs asking…)

Mr. Trump, since becoming a candidate for President, you have been asked many questions about your plans for the country and when asked how you’ll achieve them, you mostly say, “you just will.” Your experience and success as a driven business executive is well documented, but how will strength of character, determination and willpower alone get the job done, isn’t there more needed to be president? (Presentation and functional capability are key…is there more to this candidate than being a celebrity, or does he have the goods to do the job?)

Each of the current crop of candidates for the world’s most demanding job are smart, confident in their ability, and possess past examples of success that position them for the job. As hiring managers for U.S. President, we each get to decide who we think is best suited for the job.

I always thought that if there was one industry who is qualified to evaluate or endorse a political candidate it would be talent acquisition. Who better to provide an opinion than those that spend each day assessing candidates for jobs? I for one would definitely want to be on that in-take call.