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Comments

Naomi Bloom

Jim, just thought I'd contribute a KSAOC or two to your predictive models. First, analysts should be critical thinkers. This capability could be demonstrated by having candidates take apart one of your firm's reports (not yours, someone else's), or even a competitor's report, and making specific recommendations for improving the clarity, precision, etc. of that report. Second, analysts should be broadly knowledgeable so that their work can be placed in context (e.g. if you never understood callable subroutines, it's hard to see their connection to SOA). This capability can be demonstrated by direct questioning about the placement of specific facts within a meaningful context. Analysts should also be humble in the face of their responsibilities but confident in their due diligence -- how you assess this in a candidate is a real challenge.

Kevin Kerrigan

Hi James- companies often start profiling roles which have very clear measurable performance outputs, such as sales people, Identifying the top quartile or decile and determining what it is that they do, how they behave, that makes them successful. Ability and personality profiles can be built that can be mapped against incumbents as an aid to development and mapped onto job applicants to determine fit. By the application of such processes very significant uplifts in total sales and sales / individual can be achieved. It is but a small of act of faith to then apply it to broader job families. The same principles will apply - you probably already know who are good or poor analysts in your firm, by profiling the good and bad a mapping can be made, taking into account communication skills, persuasiveness, attention to detail etc.. as an earlier comment suggested.

We use such processes across every job grade and market sector in just about every culture from selecting partners at professional services firm, to branch management, to sales and call centre staff - the common principle remains the same though the tools may differ. What is interesting is the growth in the use of such IP by integrating it into Applicant Tracking Systems to get the right talent on board and then using the same profiles in ongoing review through 360 degree feedback tools -

Jim

Thanks for the comments, Naomi and Kevin. The significance of the approach is that there is not a preconceived notion of which KSAOCs matter. The data is analyzed to show which ones matter. The results can be counterintuitive (i.e., not consistent with "gut instinct").

There is an important point that I did not emphasize that is related to both Naomi and Kevin's comments. The interesting aspect of using assessments to hire analysts is that high performance is difficult to measure. For salespeople or call center workers, there are very well-defined metrics for performance. For an analyst, there are some well-defined metrics as well (e.g., number of research notes published, number of client inquiries answered, number of consulting days performed, number of presentations given). Most of these are related to productivity. However, these metrics do not reflect the quality of ideas (thought leadership, if you will) of the analyst. We do have some metrics for quality. We do customer satisfaction surveys for inquiries. We survey audiences at Gartner conferences for presentations. However, there is not a comprehensive way to get at quality across all the activities an analyst performs. I think what Naomi was trying to get at are some of the attributes that truly define a high performing analyst.

This is what I find interesting about this effort. Can we define performance in such a way that the behaviors identified truly correlate with that performance?

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