Working with an evaluator can be a daunting task. How will you know if what they produce will be useful for you?
When interviewing evaluators asking the following questions can give you some insight into the utility of the evaluation for your organization.
Can you show me an example of a report?
Looking at a report is an easy way to find out how useful the evaluator’s work will be to your organization. Is the report easy to read? Does it include useful information? Is it clear and concise? The evaluator should explain the report to you and the rationale behind the format. Make sure you ask questions about the report and discuss what you like and what you would like in your evaluation report.
What is your philosophy of evaluation?
Spend some time talking to the evaluator about their philosophy behind their work. Do they talk about evaluation use? Does making evaluation useful seem like something the evaluator is interested in? If they never talk about evaluation use, you might want to schedule some interviews with other potential evaluators.
Why are you an evaluator?
You can learn a lot by asking why the evaluator is an evaluator. Ask what got them interested in the field and why they continue to do this type of work. You can also gain insight into their philosophy of evaluation.