Job Posting are increasingly adding critical thinking as a required competency. Recently I have seen several postings similar to the following:
- 3 to 5 years experience
- Strong interpersonal and communication skills
- Excellent analytical and decision-making abilities
- Ability to manage multiple tasks to completion within established deadlines
- Detail oriented
So how do companies realistically measure these competencies?
The first two are easily uncovered by reviewing the resume.
Requirement four is difficult in light of recent science that says that no humans are capable of multitasking well. However, many instruments like the FCARS 3.0 and SNMOT measure conscientiousness and detail orientation. These attributes can also be uncovered using behavioral interviewing.
It’s the 3rd requirement that companies fail to measure well. And this is why so many professional hires become costly failures. The ability to execute and the drive to work hard hides decision making abilities in potential candidates. This is made worse by rampant grade inflation by university professors. In the words of Marshal Goldsmith, “What got you’re here won’t get you there” and execution by an individual contributor may get someone a promotion or a position but is not sufficient for success when put into a management role. Decision making and analytical abilities becomes the key differentiator.
Chad Fife writes “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.
The PHACT: An assessment of Critical Thinking provides an excellent resource for determining whether or not a candidate has the decision making abilities to succeed. The test was developed by Dr. Dave Popple and Dr. Jon Horwitz after leading more than 40 experiential workshops on Critical Thinking.
The good news is that if your favorite candidate for hire or promotion has every attribute you desire except decision making skills, they can learn to be better thinkers. Why not bring Dr. Popple in to lead a two day experiential workshop to improve this skill in your entire staff.
Hiring for and developing this skill is sure to give you and your organization a competitive advantage against those who continue to hire people who can execute but can’t think effectively.