Thursday, February 24, 2011

The Benefits of Reviewing Proposals and Interviewing Finalists

In selecting consultants based on a Request for Proposals (RFP) or Request for Qualifications (RFQ), public agencies review and score the proposals or qualifications submitted based on established evaluation criteria and weighting for each criterion.

Interview Finalists Using Criteria:  Because agencies are selecting a firm based on their proposal, qualifications, and expertise to provide a service, it is often a good idea to also conduct interviews with the finalist firms to validate information submitted with the proposal.  There should be established criteria and weighting for the interview portion of the selection process as well.

Selection Based on Interview Only:  Some agencies will only use the points assigned for the interview, and not the points from the proposal, suggesting that the proposal represents a pass/fail process only.  The drawback to this approach is that some people present very well in an interview, but may not have the substance of experience as documented in a proposal.  

Selection Based on Proposal Only:  Other agencies do the opposite and only assign points based on the proposals, but not the interview.  The drawback to this approach is that the proposal may have been put together by the firm's marketing department, and look impressive.  However, selection needs to also include an evaluation of the actual people you will be working with.

Selection Based on Proposal and Interview:  Thus, I think the best practice is to combine the scores from the proposals and interviews in determining the highest ranked firm.  This helps balance out the strengths of substance in a proposal with the communication style and chemistry issues that come out in an interview.
Mike Purdy's Public Contracting Blog 
© 2011 by Michael E. Purdy Associates, LLC

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