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How to screen people effectively (for high-quality)

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This thread is to aggregate ideas and approaches on screening people.

Thank to Anon's idea here.

Screening for what?

Well, generally speaking, for high-quality men / women.

What one searches specifically is subjective.

But a few common traits are common for almost anyone.
Just some of the traits we might want:

  • High value 
  • Win-win / value giving  (VS only looking at what you can do for them without giving back)
  • Positive and uplifting (VS negative and pessimistic and dragging you down)
  • Can-do attitude (VS complaining)
  • Supportive (VS jealous and undermining frenemies who secretly want you to fail)
  • Smart / "street smart" / power-aware (but not always necessary though)

So, how do we screen for these folks?

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AnonKavalierBelleaderoffun
Community, new content and Confidence University moved here.

Some random screening actions that worked for me as to verifying the "Supportive" quality:

  • Compliment them on a quality you suspect they are lacking

Example: I told a colleague of mine once that his big advantage was his being a honest person. He immediately changed conversation topic.

  • Inform them of something good happening to you

If they look at you with envy and contempt, it is not a good sign. Or, if they tell you that five years ago something even better happened to them or, worse, to a distant acquaintance of theirs: also not a good sign.

  • Joke about you not supporting them anymore

I once told one of my relatives that in the future he could get help from a distant lawyer relative instead of me. He immediately tensed up.

  • Whatch out for PINs (pre-incident indicators) as described by Gavin De Becker

If a person displays one, or worse more than one, of these (Forced Teaming, Charm and Niceness, Too many details, Typecasting, Loan Sharking, The Unsolicited Promise, Discounting the Word "No"), he is very probably intending to harm you.

  • Listen to your gut instinct

As soon as you find yourself trying to find reasons why it makes sense to involve a person in your life/work/project, watch out. You are probably rationalizing because your gut is telling you something is wrong. Err on the side of caution and get away temporarily from this person.

  • Watch out for time-bound help or requests

As soon as someone tells you that he needs something NOW, watch out. Take distance. Say you can't now, and watch how he behaves. More pressure? Out he goes. Acceptance and understanding? Better.

  • Watch out for signs of entitlement, contempt

Does this person speak or write in a condescending tone to you, implying you are inferior or subordinate or you must accept what he asks of you? Does this person look at you while showing contempt on his face (a mixture of anger and disgust, shown in tipping up one side of the mouth and frowning the muscles around the nose up)? Very bad sign.

  • Watch out for people who are charming and kind when you meet, then switch to sudden disinterest afterwards

Big sign of having love-bombed you initially, and now showing their real nature. Also banking on you ramping up efforts to contact them to put you in the inferior position.

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Lucio BuffalmanoAnonTransitionedKavalierAlexMats G

A great idea to give this topic a dedicated thread!

 

Quote from Lucio Buffalmano on January 31, 2022, 10:30 am
  • Positive and uplifting (VS negative and pessimistic and dragging you down)

Dragging others down is low value behaviour, and in many cases even toxic. We don't want downers near us - which is of course reasonable, who would want that? However it's also a good example for a certain mind-shift:

Dragging people down -> Someone who always finds a flaw?

If it's not just emotional based toxicity and has at least some basis in common sense/logic it might be actually providing access to a great skill to have in certain contexts:

Because that guy/girl could be someone with whom you can have a quick phone call about certain business ideas, investments, people or ideas in general.

So this is an example of very strict compartmentalisation - different people for your niche needs, wants and interests.

Screening and Compartmentalisation

The screening part here is to find out where they are on the value scale and how to find what it is that you value in them. The lower value they are, the harder the mining process, but the chance of there being something worth finding is very high, even if you don't vibe and wont see each other again:

 

The downer may find valid flaws, which one -pumped up on optimism and enthusiasm- hasn't considered yet. This value negative behaviour becomes indirect positive value, because you may avoid costly falicious decisions or can prepare for problems down the road in advance, or get potentially valuable feedback.

(However one certainly needs a lot of confidence and an antifragile ego - as Lucio likes to call it.)

The goal could be to translate their low value behaviour in something for us valuable. While ideally this weren't necessary because they were already value positive, it seems a very useful and important skill to have, because throughout our life, we will have to deal with low value individuals, and probably many of them, so lots of training- and unexpected gaining-opportunities.

Basically it's the recycling or upcycling approach applied to social interactions - Out of the material of a rusty, broken car you could potentially make 50 mountain bikes. We could overlook a lot of other hidden treasures that need effort to purify, if we're only focussed on finding pure gold directly.

 

Multi-layered Screening Approach - Mining for value:

You could talk about a certain idea or thing that you already know the pros and cons in and out of - ideally because you actually did it/own that thing. Could be something small or big - a business idea were an example.
And in their reaction to this "proposed business idea" or "thing you are currently planning to buy" you then see:

  • If they are someone trying to drag others down, the opposite, or neutral (1st layer)
  • How accurate their negative predictions or "flawfinding skill" actually is, if they are a downer (2nd layer)

So with this we have 2 layers of screening - an indicator if they're actually a downer, and if so, how accurate their criticism is (at least for that topic, but should still give a general idea), because you chose a topic where you're very aware of the pros and cons.

Practical considerations

I have to test this in practice though, because if you meet unfamiliar people, they may hide their nastier side, especially at the beginning, so a slightly more indirect approach might be to frame the business idea that you heard of (and find interesting), instead of it being yours, so they have less of a barrier to find flaws in it.

However the downside is that mere criticising such an idea is probably not really all that much what is meant with "downer behaviour", so this needs more thinking through and practical testing.

Gaining from the Toxic Downer

Another thing is that some of the nastier ones might actually enjoy actively bringing people down.
If you don't show their expected behaviour they could quickly get what you are trying to do (or at least that something is off) and try to sabotage you otherwise.

So to counter that (only in private though), one may need to have some acting skills ready - to act offended, emotionally insvested or craving their approval for the idea (could be a lot of fun though, as you totally play them).

If their flawfinding skills are very far off reality (as you already know the pros and cons in and out), there is not even this indirect criticism value, but they become truly value negative. At least if you are not willing, prepared or able to then still shift to a topic where you still can get interesting intel out of (and even keep it winwin too, if they value attention and talking with you).

Effective Preparedness - Broad and Specific

If one is stuck with truly value negative or toxic people, one could still try to use it, for example trying to give them certain scenarios ("what would you do if...", "I heard someone was in this situation, what would you've done?") and try to learn more about their thinking, especially if they are really nasty - to understand their kind and thinking patterns better, and how to better defend against them.

Another idea for people who are social climbers and are attacking others:
If they are dangerous they probably have a lot of these "toxic skills" (toxic reframing and twisting the truth, very creative with nasty insults intended to deeply hurt, etc.). For example you could try to have playfull or half-serious frame- or insult-battles with them. An intentional, controlled powermoves-workout so to speak.

Screening + Compartmentalisation + Preparedness

So for me right now, Screening seems very much connected to Compartmentalisation and Preparedness, because one will always find flaws in people, big and small.

The goal for me is to weed out true incompatibilities first, and then either move on, or proceed with further layers of screening to try to find something that one could still gain (while also giving) from the interaction(s) even if they are not an ideal fit, as it will probably be the case most of the time.

I'm currently working out how to systematize all of this and be prepared for the most common situations and types of people (and looking at the lenght of this post that merely scratches the surface, I may accidently write a small book because of how complex and deep the topic is :D).

Examples of other very promising aspects of this complex are:

  • Passive screening vs active screening (non-interactive vs interactive)
  • "Bait Screening" (not you going after someone, but putting "positive baits" out there that may trigger a certain kind of people you value, to interact with you. A somewhat related concept from PUAs is "peacocking": to get approached from others because of a certain very remarkable piece you wear.)
  • Online vs face-to-face (especially online has a lot of potential because one can often screen passively (with bait screening even 24/7), and has more time to think when responding)
  • What are your actual goals and their priority (the basis that makes it possible to have use even for otherwise very incompatible or even highly toxic people)
  • Mindmapping the whole screening process with multiple examples for the multiple levels of screening (from broad to specific, start to finish)
  • Being stuck with very bland or even toxic people (how to make the most out of it - preparedness)
  • Preparing for the most common people in the most common situations
  • Preparing to "close" and solidify truly great fits (as they may not as aware about your commonalities as you already are after effectively screening them)

Mindshift - Screening as a tool to mine for value

So all in all, I think screening can be a very effective tool for having an enormous amount of control over interactions (and their outcomes), while ideally always creating winwin-scenarios whereever you go and whoever you interact with - because you actually have an actionable blueprint to "mine" people fast for all types of value (direct and indirect) and then act on that knowledge.

 

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Lucio BuffalmanoKavalier
Quote from Bel on January 31, 2022, 4:16 pm
  • Compliment them on a quality you suspect they are lacking

Example: I told a colleague of mine once that his big advantage was his being a honest person. He immediately changed conversation topic.

Ahahah loved it, this one had me laughing big time (plus, it sounds like a great move).

All the rest are awesome as well.
Now that you list both "active" and "passive" signs I'm thinking that one could split the two between "active digging" and "observation".

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Quote from Anon on January 31, 2022, 6:33 pm

Multi-layered Screening Approach - Mining for value:

You could talk about a certain idea or thing that you already know the pros and cons in and out of - ideally because you actually did it/own that thing. Could be something small or big - a business idea were an example.

And in their reaction to this "proposed business idea" or "thing you are currently planning to buy" you then see:

  • If they are someone trying to drag others down, the opposite, or neutral (1st layer)
  • How accurate their negative predictions or "flawfinding skill" actually is, if they are a downer (2nd layer)

So with this we have 2 layers of screening - an indicator if they're actually a downer, and if so, how accurate their criticism is (at least for that topic, but should still give a general idea), because you chose a topic where you're very aware of the pros and cons.

 

Interesting.

A similar application could be:

Encourager VS Discourager Bait

Talk about something you know either work or that IF it works will make you better off.

People who want the best for you might tell you to be cautious for the risks, but they'll either add they'll be happy if you succeed, encourage you, or suggest some ways to mitigate the risk while you take your chance.

The frenemy instead will encourage you to stay put.

For example:

You: hey man, I can't take this asshole of a boss anymore. I got this business idea, I'm thinking of pulling the trigger
Discourager: I don't know man, 90% of businesses fail. And what would you do with the mortgage?
You: I don't know yet, but I could find a way. You only live once and this environment makes me unhappy
Discourager: yeah, you only live once, that's why you don't wanna sleep under a bridge

Of course, it might not be this obvious, but the concept stands.

It's possible the discourager might simply be someone with an employee mindset here.

But it's an important red flag.

You openly stated that you're unhappy in the current situation, and almost nobody with a shred of empathy and care would encourage to stay unhappy when other options are obviously doable and possible.

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AnonKavalierBel
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Some of the low value traits I notice often are. (much thanks to my parents)

1) Saying that he/she could have done better if in your position.

2) Comparing your value to another person to put you down.

3) Bringing up past value giving to demand more value from you (even after you have given enough value).

4) Giving obvious advice to act like a mentor.

5) Comparing the relationship between you both to another worse relationship to justify being a value drain and position themselves as more generous.

6) Using others as a shield to speak about how they feel. (For example saying how a third person not in the room feels instead of saying how they feel).

 

 

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Lucio BuffalmanoKavalierBel
Quote from Lucio Buffalmano on February 1, 2022, 12:03 am
Encourager VS Discourager Bait

Talk about something you know either work or that IF it works will make you better off.

People who want the best for you might tell you to be cautious for the risks, but they'll either add they'll be happy if you succeed, encourage you, or suggest some ways to mitigate the risk while you take your chance.

The frenemy instead will encourage you to stay put.

This is a great strategy. It is exactly what happened to me when I left the biglaw firm I was in.

I remember two different situations where this played out, and I was not using a strategy but just speaking my ideas.

First person was a distant relative:

Me: I am thinking of leaving the law firm I am in. My boss is mistreating me, I am suffering, and I have some clients who would probably follow me. But I'm wondering if I should resist more.

Relative: Well, these things are dangerous. Maybe you should remain there some more for now.

Second person was a young colleague, and I was describing how John and Jim tried to steal one of my clients. This was a variation on the same theme, but more like an "abuser vs. abused" bait.

Me: Can you believe it? I was providing them work and they tried to steal one of my clients by promoting their firm instead of mine!

Colleague: No, I don't think they planned to steal your client. You are reading too much into this. They probably were just doing what a lawyer normally does to describe his area of activity.

Of note in this second situation: this colleague did not know John and Jim. And he was only hearing my side of the story. But he still chose to "side" with them against me.

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Lucio BuffalmanoKavalier
Quote from Bel on February 1, 2022, 9:09 pm

Second person was a young colleague, and I was describing how John and Jim tried to steal one of my clients. This was a variation on the same theme, but more like an "abuser vs. abused" bait.

Me: Can you believe it? I was providing them work and they tried to steal one of my clients by promoting their firm instead of mine!

Colleague: No, I don't think they planned to steal your client. You are reading too much into this. They probably were just doing what a lawyer normally does to describe his area of activity.

Of note in this second situation: this colleague did not know John and Jim. And he was only hearing my side of the story. But he still chose to "side" with them against me.

Thank you for sharing Bel.

What a genius that colleague (humorous of course), to lose goodwill and social capital with the person present, siding with those who are not even there -and thus not even collecting any points with him-.

And just for the record, this is how different approaches would look like:

  • Good friend / eagle: power protect while proposing a different perspective to make sure his friend is not jumping to negative conclusions. Then when the evidence piles up empathize and say "not cool of those too, sorry to hear"
  • Machiavellian: to agree with you and even pile up on the other two to create a rift between you all, gain brownie points with you, and gain more intel from you

His approach was not only a frenemy approach, but even just plain dumb frenemy.

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TransitionedKavalierBel
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Quote from Growfast on February 1, 2022, 6:08 pm

Some of the low value traits I notice often are. (much thanks to my parents)

1) Saying that he/she could have done better if in your position.

2) Comparing your value to another person to put you down.

3) Bringing up past value giving to demand more value from you (even after you have given enough value).

4) Giving obvious advice to act like a mentor.

5) Comparing the relationship between you both to another worse relationship to justify being a value drain and position themselves as more generous.

6) Using others as a shield to speak about how they feel. (For example saying how a third person not in the room feels instead of saying how they feel).

 

 

Another thing I have noticed that indicates low value behavior are

7) While talking about another person they seem to discuss the negative qualities and generally the negative things people say about the person and vaguely mention a couple of positive values in passing to not seem negative but mainly concentrate on the negatives.

8) Also they speak about the favours done by them to the other person but don't mention anything about the favours received.

9) They also position themselves that they "helped" the other person overcome obstacles in any sort of partnership they were in where both gained and both worked together to solve problems.

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KavalierBelleaderoffun

Linking to this thread - because asking people one doesn't know much, what they think about stuff like this actually seems like a great way to find out a lot of important intel about them in a short amount of time:

  • Are they dangerously naive or at least somewhat critical thinkers?
  • Do they see the media with some distance or are they very much involved with the things being pushed (in this case hate against all people being born in russia)
  • How do they react if you respectfully point out that innocent people will be harmed?
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