Thursday, June 25, 2009

How to score and rank job candidates.

To score and rank the candidates, I recommend using Lou Adler's 10-item checklist using a scale of 1 (weak) to 5 (strong):

1. Energy, drive and initiative.
The key to personal success is to do more than you have to, so look for this quality in every past job. Get examples of initiative and extra effort. Don't assume that an extroverted personality means lots of energy; have the candidates prove it by example, including specific dates, facts, and quantities. Don't ever compromise on this one.

2. Trend of performance over time.
Get detailed examples of the candidates' major accomplishments over the past five years. From this, it's easy to see how they've grown and impacted the companies they've worked for. The ideal candidates have had comparable (not necessarily identical) jobs and are still showing signs of upward growth.

3. Comparability of past accomplishments.
Use SMART (Specific, Measurable, Action-oriented, Results-based, and Time-based) objectives to compare the candidates' past accomplishments with the performance objectives of the job to be filled and get anchoring accomplishments for each one.
Be concerned about mismatching - for example, a smart energetic engineer may not be effective as a manager.

4. Experience, education and industry background.
Use this in conjunction with the past accomplishments category. Strong education and experience can sometimes offset a weaker accomplishment rating. Examine experience in the context of the pace, style and standards of performance where the experience took place. Give some extra credit for direct industry experience and education.

5. Problem solving and thinking skills.
Strong candidates need to understand the work, solve job-related problems, and anticipate what needs to be done. Collecting and processing information to make appropriate decisions is important, as is the ability to apply previous knowledge and experience to solving new problems.

6. Overall talent, technical competency and potential.
Score the candidates' ability to grow, develop and take on bigger roles. The top candidates will have a broader focus than the job demands. Search for thinking skills; candidates who see the broader needs of a business beyond their own functional requirements. Being able to learn technical skills is often more important than already having them, unless the job is very technically intensive and requires immediate knowledge.

7. Management and organization.
Have the candidates draw organization charts for the last few positions held. Assign names, titles, and direct and indirect staff size. Compare the size and scope of candidates' responsibilities with your current job needs. Then ask the candidates to describe their most complex team projects to assess their organizational skills.

8. Team leadership.
Team leadership represents the ability to tap into and harness the energy of others - getting them to move in the same direction or to do something they might not want to do. This has two aspects - motivating immediate subordinates and motivating people who work in different departments. Also look for candidates who've personally helped a number of people become more successful and who consistently go out of their way to hire superior people

9. Personality and cultural fit.
Personality is revealed in an individual's accomplishments. Look for flexibility and a pattern of accomplishments in different situations: as a member of a team, as the leader of a team, and as an individual contributor. Categorize the candidates' accomplishments on an ABC scale: "Alone," "Belonging to a team," or "in Charge of the team."

10. Character.
Character is a deep-rooted trait that summarizes a person's integrity, honesty, responsibility, openness, and fairness in dealing with others. Save this topic until the end of the first interview, or wait for the second interview when candidates will be more open and comfortable with their responses. Ask them to explain their personal value system and how they developed it. Find out why they want to change jobs and what aspects of work they find important. Understanding the candidates' value systems allows you to predict how they'll react to various work-related circumstances.

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