Competency Matrices, Personality, Abilities, Skills and Get,Want,Can

Hiring is one of the key areas for any growth business, normal businesses generally hiring around 1-2 people every few months, but a startup could be hiring 10 or more in a given month, across multiple departments, roles and titles, even locations.

It takes around 2-3 months to close a particular candidate, thats after multiple rounds of interviews with multiple candidates, and adding the notice period. Once they’re in, they’ve got a window generally of 3 months of probation where you’re assessing them as much as they are assessing you, then they’re full time. So this translates to 6 months for each position, and if you’ve hired someone who isn’t a fit, thats a lot of cost. Its not something a business should take for granted. In well run businesses, the process of screening, evaluating and getting new starters up to speed and a well managed process. This post should give you some foundations, that will help you in thinking about how to do this.

The competency matrix –

A competency matrix is generally quite a common tool, in simple terms its a map of the skills needed for a specific role in a specific department.

As you can see, it can also be used to assess the ‘well roundedness’ of a team as well.

However, this tends to be somewhat limiting, the fit of a team member isn’t just about bringing the right skillset, suitability isn’t capability, and generally someone highly capable but not suitable can have a detrimental effect on an organisations cohesion.

Personality, Abilities, Skills

In Ray Dalios Book Principles, he talks a lot about Personality, Abilities and Skills as criteria to assess in hiring.

So to make our competency matrix more accurate we want to ensure that the competency matrix takes into account, not just the skills, but also the abilities we expect in candidates and the personality/values that we wish candidates to embody, by doing this, we can more effectively assess both suitability and capability.

  • Competency = capability
  • Skills = capability
  • Abilities = suitability
  • Personality/values = suitability

Get, Want, Can

When i was running hiring we used to go to great lengths to evaluate staff, but it turned out that all of that additional depth of assessment wasn’t just time consuming, it also didn’t do much to improve hiring results. I then attended a training session on Entrepreural Operating System ( who have a far more effective framework of evaluating.

  • does the candidate ‘get it’
  • does the candidate ‘want it’
  • does the candidate have the ‘capacity to do it’

you could only give 3 responses, Yes, No, Maybe. It was elegant in its simplicity, and if you take this assessment standard and apply it to our PAS modified competency matrix, you actually get a fairly strong and surprisingly detailed evaluation tool for each candidate.

Here you see an example PAS modified competency matrix coupled with the Get, Want, Can evaluation. you’ll see in grey the point scoring with Yes being 2 points in value a maybe being 1 point. you’ll also note, for personality, we don’t need to consider Want and Can, with personality, we assess that a candidate either has the right personality or doesn’t.

as you can see, even with this matrix of 9 criteria we can get quite deep in evaluating the candidate.

as final piece of advice, try to keep the criteria to no more than 15 data points, its easy to get carried away.

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