Have you ever hired someone who turned out to be a bad fit for their position? Wait, don't answer that — of course you have. Everyone has. This self-rating form is a way that one company solves this common problem when hiring field personnel.

Denise Nott, general manager of DeCiantis Construction in Stonington, Conn., gives this form to applicants immediately, before the interview process begins, so she will know what role in the company would best fit the applicant. “If they rate themselves ‘highly unskilled,' we'll talk to them about being a helper or an apprentice,” she says. “If they rate themselves ‘highly skilled,' we'll take the interview in a different direction and ask them questions about the duties of a lead carpenter.”

  • DeCiantis didn't develop this form in-house. Nott says that the company has been using it for years, and she is pretty sure it came from the National Association of Home Builders. However, the company has made adjustments to the form, including adding skill areas, so it better fits their needs. (What we've shown is just a sample, as space did not permit printing the entire form.)

  • When she gives the form to applicants, Nott emphasizes that the results will not determine whether or not they are hired, just which position they will be considered for. If this is clear, the applicant is more likely to answer honestly.

  • This provision allows for a more accurate ranking; a prospective employee feels more comfortable with this “wiggle room,” instead of locking themselves in to a skill level.

  • This form also assists the company once the applicant is hired. If a lead carpenter ranks low on cabinetry, for example, DeCiantis can give him extra time on that part of the job or pair him with someone who is more of an expert in that area.