Job ads are interesting. I’m sure you’ve seen an ad like this:
- 3 to 5 years experience in the field
- Strong interpersonal and communication skills
- Excellent analytical and decision-making abilities
- Ability to manage multiple tasks to completion within deadlines
- Detail oriented
So how do companies realistically measure these competencies?
The first two are easy. Look at the candidate’s resume and interview them. Requirements 4 & 5 are harder to measure, but achievable. You can use a behavioral interview question such as “Describe a project that was very challenging but you successfully completed it on time. Also tell me how you tracked the project to keep everyone in sync.”
It’s the 3rd requirement that companies fail to measure well. This is why so many management-level hires don’t work out in my opinion. Gifted programmers, accountants, salespeople and other individual contributors can hide their decision making inabilities when focused on task execution. But when they’re asked to manage the task (or a budget), they underperform. Maybe they’re not comfortable analyzing data or they take too long to make a decision because they have trouble evaluating arguments and picking out the important points.
Participant feedback in our webcasts shows 9 out of 10 companies don’t have a way to assess or develop critical thinking and decision-making skills. This is a huge problem for growing companies that are constantly identifying high potential employees and slotting them into management roles.
So how do you know if someone is a good thinker? Have candidates take the Watson-Glaser critical thinking assessment and you’ll know how they make decisions. Can they see the facts within a controversial issue? Can they avoid showing personal bias when judging an idea or a conclusion?
Identifying and developing better thinkers isn’t easy, but it’s easier than you think.