Interviewing a Supreme Court Justice
INTERVIEW EDGE • July 2005
We view the assessment of Judge John Roberts for the next Supreme Court position as falling into two phases - credentials and competencies. This is interesting to us since many of our clients seem to be stuck in the credentials phase until we can show them how to also assess for behavioral competencies.
When Judge Roberts was announced as president Bush's nominee, the media and world at large looked closely at the judge's credentials. They found a Harvard Law School trained attorney who had tried some 39 cases before the Supreme Court. He has a non-controversial record as an appellate judge in the D.C. Circuit and a distinguished career in private law practice. So far so good.
The more difficult, and important phase, has to do with his competencies. What are this man's beliefs and attitudes about a number of issues facing this country which he may be called upon to rule on? What are his values and motivations? How does he make his decisions? What can we predict about future performance and behavior based on past examples?
This is not only the challenge the Senate will face, but a parallel model to what any interviewer must do. If the interviewer can only talk about a candidate's credentials and not his or her competencies, he has not added much value by being on the interview schedule. We teach our clients to go from understanding what the candidate did (credentials) to also understanding how and why they did it (explained by competencies).