In the many years I’ve been conducting recruiting interviews for alternative investment firms, the biggest lesson I’ve learned is that a candidate’s level of psychological development, when analyzed in the context of their earliest socialization experiences, predicts most of the variance in professional success.
Based on this I developed a proprietary approach, the High Scrutiny Interview™. This detailed interview process is for recruiting Analyst and PM candidates, Seed/Sponsor Partners, and operations leaders. It is designed to surface the hidden dimensions of success that traditional interviews do not normally access.
Drawing on the Psychology of Adult Development
Of the three levels of adult development as set out by Harvard Chair Robert Kegan (1979-2019), the highest level – the Self-Transforming level – predicts the most success. The earliest level predicts the least success. In the context of hiring interviews for alternative investment firms, success is true for both objective measures like creating alpha, and subjective measures like emotional intelligence. Adults are and appear more successful, depending upon their level of development.
The Interview Format
A High Scrutiny Interview™ begins with a semi-structured format and ends when you have the right person in place. The candidate is invited to engage in a dialogue that spans multiple contexts, designed to give you a more holistic view on the interdependent dynamics that make us all tick.
The key to deep insights into a candidate lies in the follow-up questions. As such, there is both an art and science to this process. The science is founded on the work of Robert Kegan and Lisa Lahey, creators of two powerful psychometrics, and the team behind the world-class “Immunity to Change” model of coaching.
The art comes from the way you double-click on the subtleties of a candidate’s answers. For example, the general form of a follow-up question might be “Why did you do this instead of that?” This can be extremely revealing when artfully crafted, when framed the right way. The analysis of a candidate’s response provides a working hypothesis of their development, as well as a working hypothesis of their embrace of particular mindsets.
Analyzing Early Socialization
To these twin pillars of psychological assessment, I bring a third perspective – the analysis of early socialization experiences. I have created this model over decades of working with world-class performers. Our primary socialization events form templates from which we as future adults operate. There are certain dynamics that faithfully predict success in finance and leadership. When seeking world class talent, this lens grants you greater confidence when evaluating those folks for whom only a High Scrutiny Interview™ will do.