Copyright © Dr. Stephen H. Dawson, DSL 2021

May 20, 2021

Pondering about job applicants...

"Truth is like the Sun. You can shut it out for a time, but it ain't goin' away." Elvis Presley

Ah, the search for truth. I see the term truth as a singular term. There are parts of the truth we understand, but never all of the truth. If someone understood all truth, then they would be omniscient. We covered our understanding of truth last week when we considered the linear connection of worldview, ethics, morality, and virtue. Today, let's talk about how to assess the folks who have applied to work in your organization to help accomplish the strategic planning work that you need to be accomplished by your organization.

I have encouraged during our time together that appropriate research be accomplished when considering all things. I shared research is part of how I have worked for years in a research-before-action mode. I provided examples of this belief. I cautioned against analysis paralysis. I described the differences between about looking and reading. You now need to read through the applications submitted by the folks who want to come work for you. Let's go through some of the facts you face, and see how you can best identify some qualified candidates.


The means to define a role in your organization begins with the job analysis. Work is performed to understand what each role needs to accomplish, how each role needs to accomplish the work, and the resources used by each role. The job analysis work is then finished and termed as the job analysis asset. A subset of the job analysis asset then forms the job definition asset. A subset of the job definition asset then forms the job announcement asset. A person is then sought to fill each role in your organization to do the job required by each role.


An applicant selected for consideration to fill a role you have in your organization is then called a candidate. The applicant tracking system is valuable for keeping track of applicant information. It alone is not valuable to evaluate applicants for their match to any role. A resume or CV can be padded with loads of terms, matched with a fake cover letter, only to waste much time. I have found no resume parsing technology worth using. The screening call must occur by telephone to know with any degree of certainty if a candidate is a potential match to a role. The screening could occur in person, but it has been my experience this screening step best occurs by telephone conversation. Meaningful applicant screening cannot occur until after the screening call when a qualified subject matter expert can speak with the candidate and find out how much truth resides in their application package.


The need to be fair to applicants is found in the linear connection of worldview, ethics, morality, and virtue by those who desire to also be treated fairly. Most developed nations have many laws governing the fair treatment of job applicants to protect against employment discrimination. The United States Wages and the Fair Labor Standards Act, and the Prohibited Employment Policies and Practices help make many things quite clear to employers. Their Conducting and Documenting Interviews guidelines seem reasonable enough to me.

Now, all of these laws, requirements, and guidelines can be averted with ease. Person A has a job to fill. Person B applies for the job to work for Person A. Person A tells Person C to read through the many social networking options available to accomplish research on Person B. Person C then tells Person A verbally what they found out about Person B.

This plan has been around for millenniums. It provides plausible deniability to Person A that they have not violated an employment discrimination law. This plan also introduces the possibility of improper research occurring along with the possibility of incorrect interpretation of either the proper or improper research. It also furthers the possibility Person B did not maintain the necessary confidentiality of Person A. The hassles here are not worth the risks. I do not endorse this plan. My linear connection of worldview, ethics, morality, and virtue would not consider this plan, but the plan is possible for anyone to perform.


The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator and the Strong Interest Inventory are workable options to help meet your needs to understand the personality held by each candidate. The ProfileXT assessment includes an assessment of candidate cognitive ability. A suitable personality assessment helps to understand a candidate, but personality testing alone is insufficient to understand the potential match between each role you need to be filled and each candidate's ability to fill each role. This testing could be used in combination with other applicant evaluation methods. I am leery of using a third-party test alone to evaluate anyone or anything. I hold this concern because there are still too many gaps in the picture to get to the truth of an applicant's ability to join my organization and do the work I need to be accomplished.

I look at the pile of job applications and wonder if it is possible to find a candidate suitable to meet my needs. I get tired from reading the applications. I get overwhelmed by the work I need to be accomplished by my people getting further behind. Sound familiar? I experienced this pain for years. I finally said enough to this way of working and decided to gain the help of someone who is qualified to meet my needs by paying them to fill a short-term role in my organization.

Multiple job applicants.


A podiatrist is someone who I do not need all of the time in my life. However, should I need work performed on my foot, then I want to talk to someone who knows how to help solve my foot problem. I also want someone qualified to work on my foot. Do you remember our discussion about heavy equipment operation? The same principles from that discussion hold true to your need for help to find suitable applicants to consider.

A qualified counselor can help you find your preferred destination.


I am not a fan of shills. They wreak of impropriety. What I am a fan of is an endorsement based on credible research.

I do not see a straight line to finding a suitable applicant for any role in today's world. There are too many changes occurring in global commerce, social, and political landscapes to plan for an organization to have any worker remain their entire work career with any organization. I cannot afford to endorse any candidate for a role unless I have credible research supporting my endorsement.

I do see the need for strategic foresight. I am both a scholar and practitioner of strategic foresight. Anyone can do some meaningful form of strategic foresight. Just ask a single mother who raised her kids to graduate from school, stay off alcohol and drugs, and stay out of jail. She is living proof strategic foresight can exist at all levels of society.

I do see the need for succession planning. I am both a scholar and practitioner of succession planning. Ask anyone who lived through the changes that occurred during 2020 to tell you their version of succession planning. This planning has a lot to do with contingency planning. Sometimes these planning efforts also benefit from the help of strategic foresight, should strategic foresight be accomplished before it was needed.

What you are trying to avoid is more problems coming to you. You cannot escape the truth your linear connection of worldview, ethics, morality, and virtue combination must have a suitable overlap with the linear connection of worldview, ethics, morality, and virtue combination held by everyone you bring into your organization. Furthermore, that overlap must also be suitable for those in your organization now to have the inclusion effect occur productively across the linear connection of worldview, ethics, morality, and virtue found in your organization's culture. Remember, your organization includes any matrix-supplied folks involved in doing work with your people, your customers, your strategic partners, and your supply chain network.

What you are hoping for is the reality of truth helping you both find and select a suitable job applicant for each role you need to be filled in your organization. You are hoping one candidate will stand out among the rest, or at least find you have no appropriate candidates. Light helps with eliminating darkness, yes?

My recommendation to help you find some qualified candidates from the job applicants you have now is to evaluate their personality and worldview. This consideration will help to diversify your organization by walking out the linear connection of worldview, ethics, morality, and virtue held by everyone involved in working with each role you need to be filled by your selected job applicant. You are going to face their personality and worldview eventually should you bring them into your organization. It is best to understand both of them during the assessment process.

You do not need a counselor to help you interpret the skills held by an applicant. The skills form a clear set of credentials. If applicant skills are not clear, then they are not qualified to become a candidate.

A match by personality to a role is realized by also matching skills and worldview. An espoused worldview is the most straightforward means I have found to understand more about a person. Their personality and skills may help me understand their worldview, but it is not a guarantee. Personality may be situational. Worldview is often continual. Skills are often temporal.

I urge keeping the screening call bound to a list of predefined questions prepared by you. This approach will help assure the person conducting the screening call does not attempt to interject an interview approach you do not approve. It will also help assure all applicants are evaluated fairly.

If I were you, then I would select someone who can prove to me they can help me accomplish the candidate assessments and interpret the results of each assessment by their provable work history along with the education and certifications they hold. I would check their references. I would ask for examples of their already accomplished relevant work. I would also take their assessment of the first person they assess and run it by some other qualified professionals. I know the second person will want to do their own assessment, but it is worth an objective review by an objective person. If the second person refuses to interpret the first person's work results, then I would not ask for any further help from the second person. I know my family doctor and podiatrist share their research and findings. So, other qualified professionals can do the same sharing of materials they are qualified to interpret.

I recommend you take time this week and consider how you desire to gain a deeper understanding of the personality and worldview of each applicant you are considering for each role you need to fill. The best means I have found to understand a person's worldview is to ask them the following question: what is your worldview? I also recommend you select some third-party personality testing sources to use with your applicant after they pass their first interview with their potential boss.

So, I ask you: where do you want to go? I hope your answer is to develop the plans necessary to accomplish the strategy you know you need to achieve to arrive at your desired destination. If this is the case, then let's get to work. If not, then I wish you the best of everything.

I hope we will see each other here next week. Email me if you need to talk before then.

Dr. Stephen H. Dawson, DSL
Executive Strategy Consultant

Stephen Dawson is an executive consultant of technology and business strategy, serving significant international organizations by providing leadership consulting, strategic planning, and executive communications. He has more than thirty years of service and consulting experience in delivering successful international business development and program management outcomes in the US and SE Asia. His weekly column, "Where Do You Want To Go?," appears on Thursdays.

Dr. Dawson has served in the technology, banking, and hospitality industries. He is a noted strategic planning visionary. His pursuit of music has been matched with his efforts to lead by service to followers. He holds the clear understanding a leader without followers is a person taking a long walk alone.

Stephen has lived his life in the eastern United States, visiting most of the United States and several countries. He is a graduate of the Regent University School of Business & Leadership. Contact him at