The Drift

The Drift

Hiring in the Shadows.

Our industry is fortunate to be growing during the pandemic, and managers are blessed to be screening, hiring and onboarding valuable team members instead of saying goodbye to them. Yet because of the circumstances, we fear that we’re handicapped in the process, that we don’t have a clear view of the person on the other end of the interview.

True… but not for the reasons we think.

Our perspective on talent is compromised not because we are now hiring within the frame of a Zoom screen. It’s because we’ve always used a flawed lens to frame candidates.

What we all recognize today (that we didn’t before the pandemic) are the values and behaviors that have enabled our teams to persist, overcome and thrive. Grit, adaptability, generosity, courage, curiosity and other identifiable values have been demonstrated by our strongest team members. We’ve seen them figure things out, share, work through difficulties, pivot and empower.

So, if values and behavior are so important, why don’t we screen and interview for them?

The truth is, we’re still mostly interviewing the way we did in 2015 – and 2005 and 1995 – and it has nothing to do with the pandemic or Zoom. Our questions and process are still built around what: what have you done, what jobs have you had, what skills do you possess, what clear experience matches with the CV for this job. Which prompts us to elevate and hire safe candidates, as though our HR team and interviewing managers were bound by the Hippocratic Oath – first, do no harm.

Especially now – when independent values and self-driven, quality behavior are so vital – we should be asking how and why questions: How does one of your deeper life experiences define the way you come to work every day? Why did your last team succeed – or not succeed – in truly becoming a team? How did you work through a difficult situation involving a disappointed client or coworker? Why do you think you’d choose this company and this position over a job that might pay you slightly more? How have you personally empowered a specific team member and multiplied the value of the relationship?

As I’ve said far too many times, specific experience in our industry doesn’t age like wine; it ages like fish. Tech and circumstances change, business practices evolve, new models emerge. What you’ve done isn’t as important to me as why you believe what you believe and how you bring it to life on the job – your values and behaviors. The Zoom interview screen isn’t preventing you from knowing these answers. It’s your own curiosity and the framing of your questions.

More Posts

Low Beams.

The person you’re speaking to right now… the work in front of you… today… the next hour. These are the only reality we can truly impact. Look past them and you’ll lose the only resource that can never be replaced: The moment.

The January Conversation.

Without a disruptive strategy to get the January conversation, you’re just another player hanging around the rim waiting for a rebound. You deserve better. So grab the ball and take your shots.


A little more light, more vaccine being delivered, people sharing news of their vaccinations on social media. And even as the amount of light and hope spirals upward, we will simultaneously suffer through cold and storms and sadness. These things live together in winter, but in spring the light wins out. And Spring will come. Just stay focused on the light.

What It Will Take.

Now here we are, with vaccines rolling out and a sense that things are going to get better… but only in the spring. Here we are, facing winter. And we’re asking ourselves, what will it take? What will it take to keep spirits strong, to stay hopeful and resilient under the weight of COVID fatigue and Zoom burnout? It will take choices... good ones.

What I Heard in Class.

In today’s post, I’d like to invite you inside one of our Upstream Sales Workshops on Zoom and let you overhear some of what’s being taken away.

Window of Opportunity.

Nobody ever says I just wish I’d waited longer to change. I’m glad we didn’t.

You Already Know.

It’s been said that learning is finding out what you already know. So what is it that you already know that I’m likely to remind you of?


Evidence is everywhere. But we only get what we look for. And when we examine it – thoughtfully, critically, unsentimentally – it tells us where we really stand… what needs to be done… how to move forward intentionally. We become better forecasters, better time managers, better teammates, better stewards of company resources – better sellers.

Ecosystem Leadership.

Empathy is the oxygen of your ecosystem. It sustains people and relationships and also acts as fuel for the fires of creativity, production and perseverance. You are A leader in this ecosystem, not THE leader. You'll lead by constantly referencing a very short list of recurring questions.

Stay In.

Right now, there’s an awful lot of showing up. There have been some immediate moves on diversity hiring, and a whole lot of public statements being made — including my own. But showing up is one thing: staying in is entirely another.

Everybody Knows.

The now-famous New Yorker cartoon told us “On the internet, no one knows you’re a dog.” On Zoom, everybody knows.

The New Story.

I do not know what it’s like to navigate life and business as a woman or an African American or an immigrant. I never will. I probably can’t ever really understand the micro-aggressions – the small acts of humiliation – that people who don’t look like me suffer every week. But I can and must take account of the micro-opportunities that have been there for me all along.