From the Ask Tom mailbag –
Yesterday, you talked about how we could evaluate the capability of a team member related to the work. Your focus was all about the work, calibrating the level of work in the role. But your evaluation appears to depend on observation of actual work output. I get it. But how do we evaluate capability in non-employees, candidates we are interviewing for roles. Unfortunately, we don’t have the luxury of observation. We get to ask them questions. That’s it. How do we evaluate capability?
Interviewing candidates and gathering clues on their capability is certainly more difficult than observing team members in actual work output (applied capability). But the platform is the same, we just have to capture our clues in a different way.
It’s all about the work. It’s still all about the work. With internal team members, calibrating capability requires an accurate definition of the work, an accurate definition of the stratum level of work. In a candidate interview, the cornerstone document is still the role description.
The role description should be organized into Key Result Areas, those tasks and activities that go together, grouped together. And those tasks and activities that don’t go together, separated from each other. Most roles have between 5-8 Key Result Areas (KRAs). This is where the work, the level of work gets clearly defined.
In each KRA, my discipline is to create ten written questions about the work, decisions to be made and problems to be solved in the role. If you have five KRAs, you will have 50 written questions. If the role contains eight KRAs, you will have 80 written questions.
And the questions are all about the work.
For every written question that you ask, I expect you to ask two drill down questions. So, if you have 50 written questions, at the end of the interview, you will have asked 150 questions, all about the work.
In the course of your previous interviews, it is unlikely you have ever asked 150 specific questions about the work contained in the defined role. If you had, you would have a very clear idea about the candidates capability related to the work, the candidate’s capability related to the level of work.
It’s all about the work.