Knowledge Management – Part 3 : Collation and Analysis, Conducting Interviews

Collation and Analysis

Before you begin the interviews, you need to have decided how you are going to collate the information you’ll gather – have a final view of the result in mind as it will affect how you ask the questions. Are you going to use qualitative or quantitative results, (anecdotes, databases, etc).

Use a spreadsheet and map topics and experts – these are referred to as knowledge maps and expert locators. Most people undersell themselves, don’t believe them, check with their peers. You’ll soon find the experts.

Conducting Interviews

You’re ready to embark on a new knowledge management campaign; you will start with a series of interviews. You’ve identified the innovators and connectors; you are ready pick their brains for information. Preparation is key for the interviews!

You will be interviewing people that are extremely busy and important. You can’t arrive at an interview and say “tell me about you career to date”. Do your homework first. Go to HR and get their CV to find out what the career path has been, what courses they’ve attended. Go to IT and find out what systems and information they have access to. If they are high profile enough they should have information on the Internet, Google them. Understand the jargon they would use, if you’re not sure, look at magazines in the industry they are in and get ideas. Put a profile together with a set of questions, and send it to them before the interview. This will demonstrate that you are serious about what you’re doing, it won’t be a waste of time and builds credibilty. Rather ask questions like your best project, your worst project and why, biggest challenge, etc etc. Remember that if these people left, the company would be left in a mess, act accordingly.

During the interview, determine who they regularly speak to and your first connection is in place. Duplicate the process with all the connectors.

The information you gather will be made available to everyone in the organisation, make sure the interviewees understand that.

Someone needs to be monitoring the information you are gathering, so if a candidate has aspirations of changing jobs internally, make sure HR knows about it so they can act. Manage expectations carefully because this role can be seen as overlapping with Talent Management and annoy the HR team. Don’t promise the guy that you will make it happen.

Having 2 interviewers sometimes makes people relax more. Take a recorder rather than make notes so you can concentrate on what they’re saying. Take culture into consideration when arranging interviews, in some cultures it is not appropriate for a woman be alone in a room with a man without an escourt, (that’s also why 2 interviewers works).

Always give feedback after the interview, thank them for any referrals and also give feedback on the referrals.

There are 3 things about trust and knowledge sharing :

  • Can I trust it is the whole story and you’re not setting me up for failure?
  • Are you going to use my information for good or evil?
  • Are you going to give me credit?

People will answer your questions if they feel the 3 questions are addressed to their satisfaction.

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