I'm a freelance Senior Software Engineer and have spent a lot of time developing my approach to contracts and working with clients. I've recently written an article on how to vet a technical person from a technical person's perspective. The trouble, of course, is not-being technical, how can entrepreneurs securely hire a good consultant. I want to learn what you guys think about the subject. Vetting a Technical Consultant - The Integrity Interview
I personally favor assessment tools such as Codility paired with IQ/EQ assessments like Predictive Index, and sometimes previous employers/clients references.
Time and budget permitting, I also like to engage new hires/consultants in a short term (paid, of course) project before signing them for a longer engagement.
With that toolset I get a good idea about the candidate technical skills, their future job performance and their organization (culture) fit.
I just now saw your article (I didn't see the link previously) and it outlines a consistent "structured interview" script, which is another good tool with positive reactions from applicants and high evidence for validity. It is a great alternative to short engagements, performed after the skills/IQ/EQ initial vetting. It is just not one of my favorites as it uses a lot of my time (30-60 minutes per candidate), but that's a matter of personal preference.
To elaborate on mine and others' answers:
I use to opportunity to not just test the technical capacity of a candidate, but the way she structures her answers, manages her time and even if she self-selects by ignoring the time constraint and sending me better answers afterwards, demonstrating tenacity and high quality standards.
There is scientific evidence that higher IQ predicts performance across almost all occupations and groups, but especially relevant for high-complexity jobs.
It might not be well received by some candidates which I personally see as an undesirable personality trait (see more on Neuroticism, below).
Measure the big 5 and avoid pseudoscience such as MBTI.
On the broad measures side:
- Conscientiousness - is predictive of job performance across occupations.
- Extroversion - predicts sales job performance.
- Neuroticism - no scientific evidence to back me up on this one AFAIK, but I tend to favor individuals with lower levels of neuroticism since, in my experience, higher levels indicate someone that displays disruptive behavior such as hostility, tantrums, non-task related conflict, etc. and I'd rather spend mine and my team's time working on project tasks than handling office drama.
On the narrow measures side:
- Design your job/engagement description in a way that identifies desirable narrow personality traits.
- Measure those traits through a standardized test.
Do not take my word for it. Do your own research.
I might add more, time permitting.
I am super curious also to learn as I am in this exact position at the moment
To hire a good tec. Consultant having basic self knowledge about the subject is obviously must but the person you hire should also have that working spirit and mental state required for the position, the reason of my this answer is that in todays world every year millions of graduates and post graduates are trained out technically and to a certain level one defiantly becomes capable of adopting certain knowledge while his/her course is on. This is a fact that most of them know what is to be done but very little number is capable to apply it practically.
I suggest one should have more EQ(emotional quality) than IQ in todays world to handle the job, and a real entrepreneur can dig it out easily while a conversation, because as i said there is no shortage of knowers but there is of the go getters.
A lot depends on what technical aspects you are concerned with. There are many different sorts of tech. Within each there are many levels of expertise. I preach this to start up companies where marketing is concerned. Where are you and how you want to be viewed. What kind of car company and model is your company and if you were in the medical field where would you be. I think a lot has to do with methodology. Are they thinking like you are? I would speak with them or at least get some sort of document where it explains the way they do business. At that point if it seems to be a match ask what they would do and if they have done it before?