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For your important business, how do you judge if someone is competent?

Discussion in 'General Business' started by gemini181, Jan 17, 2007.

  1. #1
    Some people are really good at one or two things, and appear to be 'totally incompetent' in many other areas.
    Others are more balanced, but haven't really mastered any one subject very deeply.
    SEMrush
    In a general sense (for dealing with clients, vendors, current or potential employees, etc), for your important business, how do you judge if someone is competent?
     
    gemini181, Jan 17, 2007 IP
    SEMrush
  2. frankcow

    frankcow Well-Known Member

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    #2
    Customer references are key, they tell a lot about a company's or person's abilities and past dealings
     
    frankcow, Jan 17, 2007 IP
    gemini181 likes this.
  3. gemini181

    gemini181 Well-Known Member

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    #3
    I want to ask an important follow up question, but I'm having trouble doing it in a competent way. :rolleyes:
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    A) General ref's: You have to trust they are not fake (or paid for)

    B) Very personal ref's: Their customers and clients aren't expecting to hear from you, asking about 'them.'
    ~~~~~~~
    Any real-world advice on getting trusty customer and / or client references?
    Thanks
     
    gemini181, Jan 17, 2007 IP
  4. frankcow

    frankcow Well-Known Member

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    #4
    word-of-mouth from a friend/acquaintance is usually pretty trusty
     
    frankcow, Jan 17, 2007 IP
  5. HumanIngenuity

    HumanIngenuity Peon

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    #5
    If you are competent yourself it takes you 5 minute to know after you talked to them :)
     
    HumanIngenuity, Jan 19, 2007 IP
  6. adrian88

    adrian88 Peon

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    #6
    ivy league education
    haha
     
    adrian88, Jan 19, 2007 IP
  7. marketjunction

    marketjunction Well-Known Member

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    #7
    If we're talking about hiring workers, you'll want to give them a competency test before hiring them.

    For instance, let's say you were going to hire a researcher that will be doing lots of Internet research for you. Your competency test would have random questions on there that need to be looked up.

    You would give the person a set period of time (15 minutes, 1 hour, etc) to do it in and have the person write down two sources of information.

    For instance, questions might be:

    1. What's the narrowest body of water between the USA and Russia?
    2. Name two people on the [City Name] City Council.
    3. [Country Name] is located north of X and east of Y.

    Once completed, you can see how fast they were, how accurate they were, and more importantly, what they are using for sources. Were they reputable? Does the source pattern show a wide spread or did they keep going to the same well over and over?
     
    marketjunction, Jan 20, 2007 IP
  8. boatsource

    boatsource Active Member

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    #8
    I personally don't know what use references are other than an indicator that the person has at least a couple people who don't hate them. Why would anyone give references that would give anything but a glowing review?

    That aside, a very thorough interview is obviously the place to start. As was noted by marketjunction, I would have verbal questions for the applicant that would be more of a "How would you go about doing a certain task" such as finding what the narrowest body of water between the US and Russia. Then there are the "how would you deal with..." questions.

    An applicant who answers things to your liking is obviously someone who is good at telling you what you want to hear. So in an interview you are watching for body language and other indicators as well as the answers.

    If the position is important to your business there's nothing wrong with having a very long application process of interviews and aptitude tests. Further when you find someone you think is suitable you can always hire them on a trial basis with whatever subjects. Then stick by them and see how it goes.

    But, if you're planning to hire for something like $6 to $8 an hour, just be happy someone showed up and hire them quick!
     
    boatsource, Jan 28, 2007 IP
    gemini181 likes this.
  9. dnk

    dnk Well-Known Member

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    #9
    Ask them to write on a few relevant topics, you find out a lot about a person.
     
    dnk, Jan 28, 2007 IP
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  10. Marketing100

    Marketing100 Peon

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    #10
    If you know your stuff, you'll know if he doesn't know his. Just my opinion.
     
    Marketing100, Feb 2, 2007 IP
  11. gemini181

    gemini181 Well-Known Member

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    #11
    I do plan on hiring someday, and this thread has very good advice, thanks all. :)

    HumanIngenuity: You have a good, usually true statement.
    (BTW, you forgot the 's' after the word minute, don't worry it's not a competentcy issue :rolleyes:)

    ~~~~~~
    I used to work for an unpredictable boss who was brilliant in some areas, and a complete 100% incompetent idiot in other ways.
    ~~~
    /Kinda' like me sometimes :p
    ~~~
     
    gemini181, Feb 2, 2007 IP
  12. IeaAuctions

    IeaAuctions Peon

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    #12
    Key Performance Indicators.

    Are you moving closer towards your goal, or further away? What are you using the measuring this? What could you be using to measure this?
     
    IeaAuctions, Feb 2, 2007 IP
  13. w3bmaster

    w3bmaster Notable Member

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    #13
    Well i prefer people that are very good in one field (the field i need them to do the job)

    Olso a litlle test to see what there are capeble of woudn't hurt ...
     
    w3bmaster, Feb 2, 2007 IP
  14. adrian88

    adrian88 Peon

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    #14
    hire someone from your competitors
     
    adrian88, Feb 3, 2007 IP
  15. Mirage

    Mirage Active Member

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    #15
    I'm a "holistic" hiring personality. For most positions, I want to think about how this person will work in the company over the long haul. Obviously, this is not useful if you are looking to "put a body on a job"...but I have never been disappointed when I have approached it in this way.

    Basically, I'll take (for most positions...not all) an enthusiastic and less experienced person over a well-qualified (on paper) but uninterested individual.

    You have to remember that you are hiring THE PERSON, and not just the skillset. As previously mentioned, if you are just looking for a skill set and nothing more, different scenario all together.

    I had one person ask me at the end of an interview if I would be willing to pay them "under the table" so that they could continue (fraudulently) to collect their unemployment for a while. The only mistake I made with that candidate was not tossing their file into the garbage can IN FRONT OF THEM.

    It has not happened often, but I have been fooled by people. So the "probationary" trial period can be a life-saver in this matter. Also, a good "at-will" employee contract is also helpful.

    dnk referenced having them write something. I think you really do want to know if/how they write. You'd be surprised.

    I am not all that impressed with testing. Too often I have seen the tests focus on things that are not of great importance. I know people (including myself) that have been bounced out of the interviewing process because of an inability to remember a particular detail or nomenclature going back a few years. Who the heck cares if you can name all of the "textbook" benefits of object oriented programming? Whether or not you can name them only matters if you are teaching them. Can you use them? Do you understand teh principles? It takes seconds to remind of you of the textbook answer in this case. It takes MONTHS or YEARS to teach you the principles if you do not know them. Which do you think is the better thing to test for?

    Thus, if you use a test, make certain you are clear on what exactly you are trying to test.

    Just my point of view, with credit to all of the fine posts that are already here.
     
    Mirage, Feb 3, 2007 IP
  16. karated

    karated SEOing CEO

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    #16
    Gemini - Are you looking to hire someone to manage personnel?

    Competence in managing people is very different than competence in solving problems.

    Looking back at my hires, testing has eliminated the worst candidates but don't seem to do much to differentiate between the decent and the excellent. When we haven't tested because we were in a rush to hire or because we had a strong recommendation from someone we knew, we got some doozies.

    For everyone below upper management, utilize tests as close to what their tasks would be as possible and don't be shy about having them do difficult tasks. If they show any resistance to working hard to get the job, eliminate them from the hunt.

    If you're interviewing as a programmer, give them a PC and have them create code to fulfill a short but difficult Statement of Work.

    For management, see Mirage's point above
    Buy-in by upper management to what your organization is trying to accomplish, is a larger determining factor of success than small shades of competence at their tasks. And a few devoted employees makes ownership far less stressful.
     
    karated, Feb 3, 2007 IP