Hi, I’m Sara Vaca, independent consultant (www.SaraVaca.com), helping Sheila curate this blog and eventual Saturday contributor.
After 5 years as a freelance evaluator, I am starting to get more contracts coming from previous jobs or mouth-to-ear, but still, I see myself going through the regular selection process: the evaluation commissioners publish the Terms of Reference where they ask you to prepare a methodological proposal, your estimated budget and, in some occasions, they also ask for references from your previous jobs to have more information about how you work. And, if you have gone through that, I don’t know about you, but I’m often embarrassed to disturb my former colleagues or managers (again!) to ask them for references.
Cool Tick: So, I have thought of this idea I haven’t tried out yet, but I thought it could be cool: What if, after each evaluation, I sent the evaluation commissioners and users I’ve worked for a short survey so they can assess my performance (once), so when future potential employees ask for references I could forward them what they have said about my work. I would use some of the typical questions they usually ask in the templates they send so the content is useful for them. Would that work? This could have several advantages: 1) serve me to learn about my performance in a more structured manner, 2) it would allow me to stop asking them for the same favour over the years, and 3) also it could save some time (as often they are busy and the selection/contract process can be delayed until they have the time to answer).
Hot Tip: If we could do that, we would save our references the trouble of being bothered by this, because I also often doubt about whether to reach out to warn them or not: if I do, chances are they are finally not contacted – while if I don’t say anything, they’ll probably get contacted and reach out to say so later.
Rad Resource: There are many resources out there to do quick online survey, but in my case, I would use www.SurveyMonkey.com (that I use quite a lot for other purposes, such as before conducting a workshop, I contact participants to understand their level in the subject and their expectations so I can better customize the survey – but that is another story).
If you want to comment on the idea (whether you think it could be a good fit or not), it would help me to decide whether to try it – and if I do, I would certainly let you know about it later! Thanks 🙂
UPDATE: Patricia H. Mueller let me know that AEA posted an evaluation form for members to use with their clients (on principles and an abbreviated one). The principles one should probably be updated to match the newly revised ones. She uses a revised version of the longer form every other year or so with her clients that she finds helpful for constructive feedback and also for marketing purposes.
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