Once you have an Engagement Spec you are satisfied with, your assessment team (A-team) can move forward with evaluating resumes and potential candidates against the spec. But first you, as the hiring manager, must set the right expectations.

Organize the team and decide what each member of the A-team will focus on in the interviews. Each person should be assigned a set of competencies; avoid overlap other than for the most critical competencies.

Make sure your A-team understands that their role in the process is to develop a point of view on their specific areas of focus, and not to come to a premature hire/no hire conclusion about the candidate.

In my experience, interviewers believe their job is to formulate a hire/no hire conclusion, but to be effective, the interviewing process needs to be focused on developing an evidence-based perspective on each set of competencies first.

Your A-team is RESPONSIBLE for collecting evidence on their chosen competencies, but they are not ACCOUNTABLE for the hiring decision. You, the hiring manager, are the only person accountable for the final decision.

For every candidate, your team will begin to formulate a number of hypotheses based on the resume about whether and how that person meets the criteria of your Engagement Spec. The interview then becomes the forum for gathering additional evidence to confirm or revise these hypotheses.

When it’s time to give feedback, each A-team member should:

  • Be specific and articulate the evidence they’ve gathered against their set of competencies. A “gut feel” is only useful if it is based on some level of real evidence.
  • Be aware of biases or lenses they may unwittingly apply (e.g., what school the candidate attended, where he or she lives), and the impact these can have on their conclusions about the candidate.

Since you (the hiring manager) are the ultimate decision-maker, you’ll have to synthesize all that you hear from the A-team and your own experience with the candidate. This process becomes richer, and the outcome more effective when everyone is focused on supplying perspective based on evidence.

Once you have all the information, if you feel you don’t have enough to make a final decision, re-engage the candidate in a follow-up call or meeting while you begin collecting the reference data.

Keep in mind you’re not hiring someone because he or she is “better” than another candidate. You’re hiring the person because he or she is the right candidate with the right skills and abilities and the right cultural fit at this specific time in your business evolution in order to deliver value day one.