Consultants are responsible for defining the results they're going to deliver. Why shouldn't your team members do the same thing? Learn how to flip the job interview and have candidates create a statement of work.
- Now, let's assume you've done your homework, so you can truly describe the work requirements for a particular role. Now, you're ready to establish an agreement about the work to be done, a statement of work. How should you as the hiring manager have that discussion with the worker? You're going to have to flip the entire interview process and make sure the worker can interview you. When I'm introduced to a new potential consulting client, I'm often asked to immediately start describing my experience and my qualifications, but I resist every time I possibly can.
Instead, I start with a series of questions to understand the client's own background and the problems that they want to solve. In fact, I'll usually spend about half the allotted time for a call or meeting asking as many questions as possible to make sure I understand their needs. Only at that point do I feel like I can start focusing on how I might be able to help them. But once I believe I understand their needs enough to be able to reflect back to them, I now have enough information to define how could I help. And the way I define how I can help is a statement of work.
That's a draft document that I put together that reviews the challenges the candidate client has talked about and the results I understand they're looking for. If they want, I'll also include some of the steps I might follow, but I might not even describe that because what's most important is to focus on the results that they want. Now, as a hiring manager, it's a completely natural desire to start grilling a candidate. After all, you may think you know exactly what you're looking for and your questions are designed to pinpoint the information, so you can make a binary decision: hire, don't hire.
But imagine that, instead of giving a work candidate a job description, you communicated your work requirements with the goal of having the candidate provide you with a statement of work. By flipping that interview process, you actually let the candidate conduct the interview. Sure, you have information you need from the candidate, that's a given, but if you let the candidate be the first one to ask, you'll ensure they have a far better understanding of the work requirements. From that point on, every subsequent question you ask is going to be better targeted towards the information you actually need, which is how will this particular person solve your specific problems.
Send the candidate away by asking for a statement of work or SOW, a definition of how they think they might deliver your results. Imagine having a set of SOWs from several candidates. How much better would you be informed about the unique ways they each approach the work to be done? What you're looking for isn't really an answer. What you want is to see how they think and how creatively they can imagine solving your problems and meeting your deliverables. Think of that SOW then as the basis of a collaborative negotiation between you and the candidate, which each of you can hone until you agree you have a clear definition of what success will mean for the worker and for you.
Now, some organizations have a version of a statement of work called OKRs, objectives and key results, which are regularly updated to reflect the agreements about deliverables. In a constantly changing world, you need to clearly define the problems to be solved and update that agreement regularly, so you and your team members can remain constantly in sync. This approach also offers you the chance to have a frequent conversation about how well your team member is tracking on their results. Annual reviews are a thing of the past.
You need to have regular check ins, so the team members can have small course corrections and constantly stay on track.
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- Hiring for diversity and inclusion
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- Leveraging automation for your team
- Becoming an adaptive manager
- Making human resources a partner
- Recognizing when your adaptive strategy is working