Management Matters

How Do You Evaluate Your Staff

Date Posted: 11/11/2014

Improve Your People Evaluation Skills

Whenever we meet new people we make evaluations ranging from ‘nice’ to ‘OK’ or “not nice” or ‘beware’, etc. based on impressions they create on us.  Yet judging people correctly is not so straight forward at all.  Bad judgments can lead to complications out of making wrong hiring choices, or choosing wrong business partners.  While some people are gifted at judging people and situations well, using that extra sense or hunch can often go wrong.  Therefore relying on just hunches and personal impressions instead of careful objective judgment can result in mistakes that we can all do without.  We need to improve our ability to evaluate a prospective relationship by looking for ‘signs’ that may reveal subconscious character traits more clearly.

Professional capability is more easily assessable from documentation of education, training, past career records and questions on technical know-how.  But what about the hidden traits of the person that actually drive his/her external behavior?  Correctly reading personality and attitude traits through minute observation of the person’s external behavioral skills can make for a safer reading of the subject person.

So how do we get better at evaluating people better? Here are some behavioral indicators that can help:

What is the person’s ego-to-enquiry proportion?

Observing how much a person talks and how much he allows others to talk suggests the extent of his self-importance (ego) and his interest in absorbing anything from others (enquiry).  Talking too much over letting others talk, or vice versa, indicates the subject’s nature and can be helpful, whether being evaluated for a job, or considered as a potential business partner or client.

Is he/she a giver or taker?

Both a depressing and a vivacious nature are highly contagious.  However, everyone loves the latter because a positive attitude spreads positive energy while the other envelopes one in negativity.  Those radiating positive energy make positive contributions and generate reciprocal positive response from others that also creates a powerful bonding force which can be directed towards a common objective.  A depressed nature usually focuses only on the problem and not on the solution.  Observe the real: false nature of the subject and deduce accordingly.

What is the quality of the person’s family/social interaction?

Observe the type of friends they socialize with, and learn even more of the person’s attitude by meeting their family and spouse, if that is possible.  Checking out their Facebook or other social media affiliations will also give you a good insight into their private life.

How does he interact with unknown people?

Observe carefully at a job interview with others present, how he treats those around him.  If you happen to go out to a meal, observe how he treats the waiter, whether it’s with courtesy and consideration or from a “look-down” dismissive stance.

Does she have any general or literary interests?

Establish the extent of her reading habits and preferences which will reflect her intellectual maturity, and discover whether all she reads, if at all, is pulp fiction. Is she interested in current events and issues beyond work that may have given her a broader perspective, greater awareness and maturity?

Can she communicate clearly?

Observe not just her communication style but content and establish whether the person is capable of knowledgably and clearly discussing work issues; and can impartially offer insights in her area of expertise/experience.

Does he offer well thought out, original and logical solutions to critical questions?

Observe his capacity for reasoning and weighing all options.  It is not necessarily for him to always have solutions to resolve the problem, but just discussing options will usually show if he has any depth of intellectual reasoning.

Does he follow an original agenda or just follow others?

Note that the ‘yes’ man or woman shows an inherent dependence on others and an incapacity to lead or make original contributions.  Organizations seek out people who can set their own agenda and pursue goals independently although good followers are also needed to complete the team.

Does the person have an interesting personal history and relevant organizational experience?

Knowledge acquired from experience, and accomplishments give credence to ability.  Note the way this could be utilized according to relevance, and whether such expertise has the promise of matching future requirements.

What about transparency?

Except for classified and confidential information, observe whether he or she is open to share information and knowledge, or is the person more inclined to retain such knowledge for exclusive self interest?  A person who is amenable to sharing information and helps others to learn from their own experience shows that he/she will be a good team player and leader.

Thus in any people evaluating process, be it recruitment or another association, consider the kind of person or people involved, as the outcome of any project will depend on this.  A good proposal can fail with selfish people and it’s not improbable that sometimes even a difficult project may have a fair chance of success with the right mix of people on the team.  Examine not just the track record of an organization but how openly its people interact at a discussion on the relevant issues.  Draw conclusions, not just from what kind of answers are given to critical questions but from what drives such responses. Refine your technique of properly evaluating people by asking probing questions on each person’s work so as to assess whether the answers make sense and surprise yourself with your good judgment.

Need help in sourcing top quality staff?  Ikon is here for you!  You can trust Ikon to find the best people for you and be certain that every detail of the hiring process is maximized in finding your ideal candidates.

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