Jen Hoar on Human-Based Due Diligence [Podcast]

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By Adam Turteltaub

The proliferation of computer-based due diligence tools, combined with the travel restrictions of the pandemic led to a shift away from in-person due diligence efforts. Technology-based approaches increased dramatically, and, according to Jen Hoar (LinkedIn), Managing Director of Forward Risk, relying solely on them can be a mistake.

Talking to human sources, she argues in this podcast, helps augment and provides nuance to open-source public records. Talking to people who have worked with the third party can flesh out what it is like to do business with them and if there are any concerns.

Sources to interview can include prior investors, customers, industry experts, and even trade journalists.

When conducting the interviews with these individuals, she advocates for an open-ended, conversational approach. Rather than trying to get through a list of questions, give them the opportunity to talk about whatever is important to them and pursue the conversation wherever it leads. Be sure, though, to take note if someone is oversharing.  It may be a sign of an agenda.

In terms of your own agenda, she advises against going in with a hypothesis to prove or disprove. Instead, go in with an open mind. Your job is to gather information and to find out what the truth is rather than to test a theory.

Listen in to learn more about the role and value of human-based due diligence.