Executive Search and the bewitching spell of stories

Stories are powerful. Nothing illustrates that more than the story of M.K. Gandhi himself. His attire, the way he cultivated his image, the spectacle of the Dandi march, in fact everything he did, captured the imagination of the world. It was a powerful narrative, that of a man who dealt in absolutes – he had a grand dream but wouldn’t comprise on principles to achieve it. That is a powerful story.

Most C.E.O.s will testify to the power of stories. It what they use to rally their teams, sell their product, or convince investors. Unfortunately, it is also what they use to get a new job. Therefore, when searching for executives to hire, one has to be wary of stories.

What’s wrong with believing in stories when you hire executives or invest in them? Remember the high-flying executive who piled up a lot of debt while selling his story to many different banks. Or the ex-I.A.S. officer who joined the corporate world only to be mired in corruption scandals from the past. Or the suave executive prone to sexual misconduct. Believing in stories is often a dangerous thing to do.

It obviously makes sense to dig deeper into an executive’s past and make sure there aren’t any skeletons in the closet. But it is very unlikely that they will give you permission to look into their background. In fact, in some cases, the executive may not even know that they are being considered for a position. Digging up private matters would therefore be illegal.

Fortunately, there are things one can do with public data. IDfy is able to scan through millions of pages of public data, dredging up articles, journals, social media posts, and several items of information.  The clever bit is that our technical team has a designed an algorithm that can rank information based on source or recurrence, and categorise the data so that the entire profile can be easily read. All criminal and civil court databases in India are checked and information from numerous public government sources, financial sources, and global databases is consolidated into one comprehensive report.

Hiring or investing in an executive is an important decision. For all their seductive charm, stories should be shunned and facts relied upon. Reach out to us: we can help you know sift through stories, pull out the facts, and take better decisions about hiring storytellers.

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