From the Ask Tom mailbag:
I have started the process of locating candidates for a Stratum IV position. How do you test an individual for capability given a specific job requirement. Specifically, after narrowing the field of candidates I would like to have them tested for the capability required in the position? Most of the canidates in our pool are age 30-38 and have promise but lack validating comparative experience.
I know you have been following the series we completed yesterday, defining the Level of Work in typical roles.
Calibrating Level I Roles
Calibrating Level II Roles
Calibrating Level III Roles
Calibrating Level IV Roles
I am often asked to interview candidates to assess their current capability or potential capability. It’s like a dog barking up the wrong tree. The cat’s not in that tree.
Instead of attempting to assess the potential capability of the candidate, spend your time defining the Level of Work in the role. Then, interview the candidates related to the work. I know this is a simple solution, but here is the brilliance.
You are absolutely NOT qualified to assess a person’s current or potential capability. Here is my humble news. I’m not either. Leave that assessment to higher powers.
But, managers are absolutely qualified to observe and assess behavior related to work. Competent managers can easily spot positive behavior, negative behavior and can instantaneously tell the difference. Play to your strengths as a manager. Define the Level of Work and interview the candidates related to the work. You will always stand on firm ground within your competence to conduct that interview.
The second part of your question indicates you are working through a young candidate pool, age 30-38, for a Stratum IV role. Elliott’s research is very clear. In the snapshot of a candidate pool, age 21-50, the frequency of people demonstrating capability for Stratum IV roles was 1 in 200. If you can expand your age search up to age 21-70, you will double your odds to 1 in 100. It is rare air. (Source – Life and Behavior of Living Organisms, pp 188).