I recently reconnected with an old friend on Facebook. Her page is simple, clean, to the point. She has just one quote at the top, which inspired me to write this.

“In evaluating people, you look for three qualities: Integrity, Intelligence and Energy. The most important is Integrity. If they don’t have that, the other two qualities, intelligence and energy, are going to kill you.” – Warren Buffett

Being in search and recruiting for nearly 20 years, I evaluate people for my life’s work. We all “read” people in our own way, every day. I think I’ve developed a keen sense of reading between the lines, sniffing out what’s real, and finding the diamonds. Buffet’s quote speaks the simple truth.

The definition of integrity is “adherence to ethical principles; soundness of moral character; honesty.”

Integrity to me means you do what you say you’re going to do. It also means being authentic and consistent. People who have integrity earn respect of both peers and management. They move faster in their careers. It’s the stuff leaders are made of.

What to Look For in a Resume or Online Profile

How to identify integrity? When I read a resume or online profile, I look for two primary factors: 1) Track Record and 2) Performance.

For track record, I’m looking for job stability, promotions, career progression. If a person works one year here, two years there, I want to know the story. Why did you make moves at points in time?

For performance, I look for achievements and accomplishments. I want to see the numbers and how they were achieved. For example, “increased revenues by….” or “streamlined expenses through…” or “drove profitability in…” Education, advanced training and/or certifications tells about a person’s brainpower and drive. As Buffet says, their intelligence and energy.

Together, track record and performance offer insight into a person’s inventiveness, resourcefulness, and ability to overcome obstacles to achieve results. These are the people great companies are made of.

What to Look For in a Phone Conversation

Talking on the phone for 20 years has finely tuned my ears. I find it fascinating to discuss careers – people’s hopes, fears and aspirations.

People who communicate effectively on the phone and can carry a good conversation tells about a person’s confidence and ability to think under pressure. Quickly you can get a sense of someone’s energy, enthusiasm and personality style. I much prefer talking with people who look at the glass half-full with a “can-do” attitude.

In my experience, a person who speaks well on the phone usually presents well in person. If a person has successfully interviewed at prior employers and can articulate what they’ve accomplished and what they want to do now, they are ahead of 90% of the pack.

I’ll ask both HR-oriented and technical questions. Some of the “softer” questions:
– Why are you looking to make a career move? Why now?
– Why did you decide to make moves at points in time?
– Are there any changes in your job or life that you anticipate over the next 90 days?
– And, behavior-based questions. For example, “Tell me about a time when you…” and “If X were to happen, how would you…”

There’s so much material on this subject. Volumes have been written on resume writing, interviewing, evaluation/testing and “How to Win the Job You Want”. I hope I’ve shed some light on what people evaluating others for a job look for.

The two take-aways here:

1) Your resume and online profile together with phone skills usually reflect how you will perform on an interview. If you’re looking for a new job, I’d suggest to sharpen up both.

2) Be a person of integrity. Online and in-person, be consistent and authentic. Do what you say you will do. Because without integrity, intelligence and energy won’t matter.

In future posts, I’ll continue to write about:
– What to Look for After the Phone Conversation
– What to Look for in a Meeting

– Other topics you’d like to know about this?