About This Series
Publication Date: January 2010
What Do I Look For?
minus iconHow Do I Find One?
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What Do I Look For?


Each member of the hiring committee should become familiar with the qualifications necessary for a local evaluator. Evaluators hired to conduct a needs assessment or program evaluation should possess the basic skills necessary to—

  • Identify data that can be used for planning, managing, and evaluating program policies and practices.
  • Use multiple research methods and collect different types of data from various sources.
  • Establish data collection and analysis priorities that are informed by the experiences, capabilities, and resources of program staff and participants.
  • Reliably interpret data.
  • Link data to program development and management.

In addition to these basic skills, evaluators must be willing to work within the realities of your program and its everyday operation. Their skills in communication, team building, group processes, and negotiation are vital to a successful working relationship between the evaluator and the program’s partners.

It is also important to consider the following competencies when hiring a local evaluator:

  • Skill in facilitating an evaluation process that includes the experiences of the participants.
  • Ability to increase the capability of program staff to conduct and use evaluation findings.
  • Willingness to develop and maintain a collaborative working relationship based on cooperation and trust among program staff, managers, stakeholders, and clients.
  • Willingness to involve all partners in the evaluation process.
  • Ability to design and implement methods to feed evaluation information back to the program for use in program planning, monitoring, and improvement.
  • Experience in evaluating the types of program and topical areas in question.
  • Experience in conducting evaluations of comprehensive community partnerships involving governmental, nongovernmental, and community-based organizations, if necessary.
  • Experience in conducting evaluations with the types of partner and collaborative agencies affiliated with your organization.
  • Experience in conducting needs assessments of issues important to the project.
  • Experience in working in culturally diverse settings.

Finding an evaluator who is proficient in as many of these competencies as possible is critical. Although the success of the evaluation is not contingent on finding an evaluator with a high level of expertise in each of these competencies, the project and the overall evaluation process will greatly benefit if you take time to find an evaluator with the right skills to meet your needs. Doing so will greatly increase the likelihood of a successful evaluation.