How To Use A Decision Matrix As Part Of The Hiring Process

by drjim on January 17, 2013

A decision matrix can help IT managers make hiring decisions

A decision matrix can help IT managers make hiring decisions
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This hiring of new members for your IT team can be very difficult to do at times even though it is one of the critical IT manager skills. The problem comes up when you’ve interviewed a group of qualified candidates. Now comes the hard part: how do you choose the right one for your team?

What Goes Into A Hiring Decision Matrix

When you are faced with a collection of very talented candidates who are all vying for the same spot on your team, you’ve got a problem on your hands that there is no IT manager training for. What you need to do is to use a hiring decision matrix in order to sort through each of the candidates and determine which one is going to be the right one to add to your team.

A hiring decision matrix consists of both rows and columns. You’ll create a row for each one of the candidates that you are going to be interviewing for the position. You’ll ultimate goal here is going to be to build a matrix that will permit you to compare each candidate to each other in order to determine who is the best suited to be added to your team.

Next comes the columns. Each of the columns that you create in your matrix will relate to the characteristics that you believe are needed in order to successful in this job. Ultimately you are going to have to be the one who determines what the correct columns to use are; however, I can provide you with some helpful suggestions here.

One very good way to compare candidates is to include a column that identified their education level. You may also want to include notes on what school(s) they attended just in case everyone has the same level of education.

Two more columns that are helpful are previous experiences and job accomplishments. It’s not just the jobs that each candidate has worked at that are important, but also what they feel as though they were able to accomplish while they were spending their time there.

Next come the skills & knowledge and the personal attributes columns. Skills & knowledge are critical in determining how quickly each candidate will be able to start to be a productive member of your team. The personal attributes column may be more subjective, but it should provide you with a feel for how well this candidate will get along with the rest of your current team.

The final column is the previous appraisal or rating column. You’ll never be able to be aware of everything that has happened in each candidate’s past work experiences. That’s why asking them questions about how their past job performance was rated is a great way to try to capture some of the knowledge that their previous boss had.

How To Use A Hiring Decision Matrix

Just building a hiring decision matrix isn’t good enough: now you are going to have to use it to make a hiring decision. One important point to be aware of here is that this tool is not a magic tool – it’s not necessarily going to clearly show you which candidate you should pick. Instead, view it as allowing you to discard all but two of your candidates.

For each one of the columns that you’ve created, you are going to want to rank each of your interview candidates. I would suggest using a scale that runs from 1 (poor) to 10 (excellent). Once you’ve ranked each candidate, you can then add up their individual scores and create a single score for each person.

Generally what you are going to find is clusters. You’ll have a couple of candidate at the top end of your scale, a few in the middle, and one or two at the bottom. You can now discard the middle and the bottom and just focus on the top end candidates.

You are now done using the hiring decision matrix – it’s accomplished what it was designed for. Now you need to use your IT manager skills and make a tough decision. What you are going to want to do is to reflect on how the interviews went and make a decision on exactly which candidate you felt was the best match for joining your team.

What All Of This Means For You

Under the best of circumstances, hiring someone to join your IT team can be a challenging task and should be considered to be yet another part of the critical task of IT team building. When you are faced with a number of candidates that are all very well qualified, it becomes even more difficult.

In order to make the process of making the right selection easier, IT managers can create and use a hiring decision matrix. This matrix consists of an individual row for each candidate. Individual columns are then created based on the characteristics that you have identified as being required in order to perform the job. Ultimately the decision matrix will provide you with guidance that will help finding the answer to the question of who to hire; however, you will still need to use your own best judgment.

The makeup of your IT team is a critical factor in determining the team’s chances of being successful. As an IT manager, you need to transform what is all too often a gut decision into a process that will make sure that you make the right decision. Using a hiring decision matrix will eliminate some of the chance in this process and will help you to make the right hiring decisions.

– Dr. Jim Anderson
Blue Elephant Consulting –
Your Source For Real World IT Management Skills™

Question For You: Do you think that it is ever a good idea to bring candidates in for a second interview if they are too similar to make a decision?

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What We’ll Be Talking About Next Time

Every once in awhile a new idea comes along that is actually a pretty good idea. The tsunami of data that every company is currently trying to deal with has resulted in CFOs coming to IT Managers and asking for help. Since in many cases the IT department works for the CFO, you had better be able to show some leadership and use your IT team to solve this data overload problem and do it quick!

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