You Can And Must Interview for 50 (that’s right!) 50 Competencies

Business man with checkboxes over blue background

Most companies identify 6 – 8 competencies interviewers look at for a job. But decades of research show that A Player managers are at least (Good) on 50 competencies. Gaining deep insights into so many competencies seems impossible, but you can do it.

When you hire someone (let’s use a manager for this discussion), chances are you’ve identified 6, maybe 8, competencies that you’ll measure candidates against when you interview them. Those typical competencies are Passion, Team Player, Positive Leader, Creative, High Integrity, Eager to Learn, and Resourceful.

MANAGERS MUST SHOW STRENGTH (TO VARYING DEGRESS) ON 50 COMPETENCIES. For decades, Topgrading Professionals, and managers trained in Topgrading, have known that for managers to qualify as A Players, they have to show strength in 50 essential competencies. (At the end of this blog click to get the full list). Pilots go through a checklist of dozens of essentials before taking off – would you want the pilot to only check 8 things? Or if a medical diagnosis requires looking at 50 variables, would you want your doc to only look at a few?

IMPOSSIBLE! You think getting accurate insights into 50 competencies is impossible, right? In Topgrading Workshops we show the list of 50 and ask which we could eliminate, using this test: If you would not hire people because you consider them Only Fair, Poor or Very Poor on a competency, you MUST scrutinize that competency. If, for example, it’s ok if a new hire is just Good (and it’s not necessary for them to be Very Good or Excellent) at Organization, but you would not hire them if they were worse than that, then Organization has to be a competency you scrutinize, right? Maybe eliminate Communications? No? How about Analytic Ability?  No again? It sinks in – more than 4 dozen competencies are necessary, not just desirable. And managers finally agree all 50 competencies are necessary (to varying degrees).

YOU CAN DO IT! At the beginning of every Topgrading Workshop we also ask attendees, “How many of you think you can accurately rate a candidate on 50 competencies after a selection interview? The result: no hands go up. At the end of each Topgrading Workshop we ask the same question and ALL the newly trained Topgraders raise their hand. They know they can do it because during Day 2 of the workshop we emphasize conducting the Topgrading Interview and arriving at conclusions on all 50 competencies. They know they can do it because they just did it. “Nailing” all 50 competencies is what enables Topgraders to hire 90% A Players.

HOW DOES THE TOPGRADING INTERVIEW REVEAL 50 COMPETENCIES? The short answer:YES. We analyze 4,000 data points, whereas most hiring interviews capture less than 200. The Topgrading Interview is far more thorough than other interviews.  It’s chronological, captures high and low points during the education years, and for every job: successes, failures, mistakes, likes, dislikes, key decisions, key relationships, boss ratings of performance, and reasons for leaving. As a candidate explains a success (for example, heading a task force to assess whether or not to open another facility) you get insights into maybe 15 competencies, such as analytic ability, team player, judgment, energy, strategic abilities, etc, etc. Averaging 12 questions (including follow ups) for 20 jobs, that’s 240 questions X 15 competencies revealed per example = 3600 data points PLUS questions about education years and plans for the future = about 4,000 data points.

PATTERNS REVEAL 50 COMPETENCIES…But “nailing” 50 competencies requires more than “just” 4,000 data points. As you interview the candidate chronologically, you’ll begin to see patterns of strengths and weaker points, and as the patterns become clearer and clearer, ultimately enabling you to accurately rate all 50 competencies. Just as an acorn grows into an oak tree, by the time you’re up to the current job, you probably have heard dozens of specific instances described for all 50 competencies.

AND YOU CAN VERIFY YOUR CONCLUSIONS. In Topgrading, you have one more step. Candidates arrange reference calls with people (bosses and others) you I want to talk with, and all your conclusions can be tested and verified.

To learn more about why Topgrading is the most proven, most effective hiring method, download our free eGuide, Topgrading 301, by clicking HERE. The guide includes all 50 competencies.

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