Here’s a closer look at the self-assessment ranking given to prospective employees of D&J Kitchens & Baths, in Sacramento, Calif. Click here to read more about how the company screens job applicants.

A. 242 Tasks

Top candidates rate themselves on a scale of 1 (“never have done it”) to 5 (“can do it and instruct others how to do it”). The chart is part BS-detector and part roadmap for future growth at the company. In its first use, D&J Kitchens & Baths co-owner Darius Baker didn’t select the candidate who checked the most 5s. “The face-to-face interview helped make the final decision,” he says. “I only scored 83 in the 5 column, and I’ve been doing this kind of work since I was 12 years old!”

B. Benchmarking Progress

After the new employee’s six-month trial period, the second column is used to rate his or her actual on-the-job performance and improvement. “It was interesting to see the reaction when I told applicants this,” Baker says. “They knew they would not be able to BS their way into the position.”

C. 23 Categories

Besides project orientation and demolition, the six-page form specifies responsibilities within the following categories: foundation, framing, plumbing, electrical, HVAC, siding, roofing, windows, doors, insulation, drywall, painting, cabinetry, millwork, countertops, tile, floor coverings, appliances, cleanup, punch list, and people skills.


“I mostly look at experience in the trades: familiarization with codes, ability to perform tasks like rough-in an island sink, wire a kitchen per code, install cabinetry, finish carpentry skills,” Baker says. (California’s contractor “B” license authorizes up to three major trades to be performed under that license designation.) Items such as cleanup and people skills should be inherent in remodeling, but “you’d be surprised at some commonsense things that people are clueless about,” Baker says.

Improvement = Growth

“I developed [the chart] to show potential employees where they can improve so they can grow within the company,” Baker says. Similarly, it weeds out candidates who aren’t interested in growth or long-term commitment. “It also shows there is no such thing as a ‘perfect’ remodeler!” Baker says.